Pittsburgh Pirates: Jose Soriano Impresses in Organizational Debut

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Pitching prospect Jose Soriano impressed in his first appearance as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization

The Pittsburgh Pirates were very active in the offseason. They acquired many prospects, including some in the Rule 5 Draft. They had the number one pick and used that selection to pick right-hander Jose Soriano from the Los Angeles Angels. Soriano was coming off Tommy John surgery and made his debut for the Pirate organization on Thursday.

Soriano looked outstanding in his rehab outing. Soriano started the game and pitched 3 shutout innings, allowing just one hit, he did not walk a batter and struck out 5 batters. Not only did Soriano’s bottom line look outstanding, but his overall stuff looked great too. He displayed a high-90s fastball while showing off a fantastic curveball.

Soriano showed some decent promise with the Angels’ Rookie-Ball and Low-A teams. All told, he tossed 82.1 innings (77.2 at Low-A), while posting a 2.51 ERA, 3.65 FIP and 1.32 WHIP. Soriano struck out 26.6% of the batters he faced while only allowing 5 home runs for a 0.55 HR/9 rate. Soriano induced ground balls at a 52.8% rate at Low-A. However, he struggled with control, posting a 14.7% walk rate.

Soriano’s three innings without allowing a free pass are very promising. He was working in the 93-97 MPH range in 2019 and topping out at 98 MPH, so it’s good to see that the Tommy John surgery didn’t affect his velocity. His fastball comes in with a 60-future grade on FanGraphs. Meanwhile, his curveball has a 55-future grade. However, the way it was looking on Thursday evening, it could eventually work its way up to another 60-grade offering. He’ll also occasionally use a changeup, but his bread-and-butter is his fastball/curveball combo.

Now that Soriano is pitching the Pittsburgh Pirates have 60 days before having to decide to promote him to the major leagues or return him to the Angels. In all likelihood, the Bucs will give him a shot. His stuff looked fantastic in his first outing and the fact he was flashing some pretty solid command since that is what he was struggling with.

Soriano has mostly pitched out as a starter. He’s started 57 of the 61 games he’s pitched in. However, he’ll likely end up in the bullpen when the Pittsburgh Pirates recall him. His stuff will play up in the bullpen and the Pirates aren’t about to throw a pitcher fresh off Tommy John surgery into the major league rotation with no experience above Low-A.

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Currently, Soriano ranks as the team’s 22nd best prospect on FanGraphs and 25th best prospect on MLB Pipeline. The 22-year-old would be one of the youngest players on Pittsburgh’s MLB roster but his overall stuff looks very promising and he could make an outstanding reliever in the Major Leagues.