Pittsburgh Pirates Select Jose Soriano In Rule 5 Draft

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates made their selection in the Rule 5 Draft, selecting right-handed pitcher Jose Soriano from the Los Angeles Angels.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the first pick in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, allowing them to pick any player unprotected on a 40-man roster with at least 5 years of professional time if they were signed when they were 17 or younger, or four years of professional time if they were signed as 18 or older. The Bucs took right-handed pitcher Jose Soriano from the Los Angeles Angles with this pick.

Soriano, currently 22 years old, played the 2019 season between the Angels Rookie-Ball and Low-A affiliates. In total he pitched 82.1 innings posting a strong 2.51 ERA, with a solid 1.32 WHIP and 3.65 FIP. Soriano allowed just five home runs for a 0.5 HR/9 while striking out 92 batters, placing his strikeout rate at 26.6%.

Soriano’s biggest flaw was walks. He allowed 51 free passes with a 14.7% walk rate. He also had a sub-4 FIP at both levels.

Although Soriano didn’t perform well at Low-A in 2018, he’s done pretty well throughout his entire minor league career. In 238 innings, he has a sub-3 ERA at 2.76 with a 3.75 FIP and 1.30 WHIP.

Notably, his walk rate was a mucuh better 10.6% mark throughout his first 109.1 innings. However, he did have Tommy John surgery in Feburary 2020. He likely won’t be back to start the 2021 season, but could be back later during the season.

Soriano throws three pitches. The first is his fastball. Soriano can get this pitch up in the high-90s. He averages out in the 92-97 MPH range but has topped out at 99 MPH. Soriano also averaged 2250 RPM. FanGraphs sees it as a current 55 grade offering with 60-grade potential.

His next pitch is a curveball. This could be another plus offering. FanGraphs currently grades it as a 50-grade pitch, but one that could be a 55 in the future. He can throw this pitch with about 2300 RPM on average.

His third pitch is a change up. Although it is the weakest of his three offerings, MLB Pipeline states that he started to throw it more in 2018 and is improving. While FanGraphs sees it as a 40 future, MLB Pipeline has it with a 50 grade.

Soriano formerly ranked as the Los Angeles Angles 14th best prospect and fifth best pitching prospect. Given his stuff and high-strikeout rate, he could be a bullpen arm for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021.

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This currently leaves the Pittsburgh Pirates with one open 40-man roster spot. In order to keep Jose Soriano and lose his Rule 5 status, they must keep him on the 26-man roster for the entierity of the 2021 season. If they do not do this, they must offer him back to the Angels.