Soriano,a 6'2",180 pound,five-tool talent was the New York Yankees third
big foreign signee in recent years,joining Orlando Hernandez and Hideki
Irabu.This 21 year old righthander has been considered one of the most
exciting players at any level throughout his first U.S. season.
Alonso's journey began as a 16 year old when Japan's Hiroshima Toyo
Carp signed him at their Dominican academy.The native of San Pedro de
Macoris in the Dominican Republic, decided to "retire" in 1998 from
playing in Japan so he could get out of his contract and began his
American career.He had a couple of back-to-back seasons in Japan were he
didn't put up good stats,but it was his potential that made all the scouts
excited.The Yankees ended up beinging his choice to sign with as they
outbidd the competition including, reportedly, the Cleveland Indians.
Alfonso's U.S. career began 1 year ago in the Arizona Fall League where
he hit .254 with 6 HR's, 9 2B's, and 28 RBI in 34 games allowing he to be
named player of the week twice.
His first full season began for the Gulf Coast Yankees where he hit
.263 with 1 HR,and 5 RBI in just less than a full week.Alfonso was quickly
promoted to the Norwich Navigators of Eastern League where he showed he
belonged by hitting 15 HR's and 68 RBI with a .305 average.This allowed he
to be selected to play in the inaugual "Future Star's" game at Fenway Park
over the All-Star break.He ended up stealing the spotlight from all the
other stars by going 2-3,with 2 HR's,2 Runs Scored,5 RBI and subsisquantly
being named MVP.
His game is very polished for someone his age due to the fact that he
was playing in Japan. In the field,he has the soft hands and quick feet
like all the great one's have, but he has had some problems with
errors.This will be corrected with continued experience.At the
plate,Soriano has all the ability to be Jeter/Rodiguez/Garciaparra mold.He
can hit for a high average as well as be a run producer,uncommon for a
middle infielder until the last few seasons.His stay in Norwich earned him
the label as the "Most Exciting Player" by Baseball America.
Throughtout his young career,Alfonso has been a SS but this will change
when he lands in the Big Apple.Most expect either a most to 3rd base
or,more likely,to 2nd Base. Some within the Yankees think he can also be
an outfielder, possibly LF,but I don't see that drastic a move for him. My
belief is that he will play 2nd and be an all-star for years to come.He is
just starting to tap into all that talent he has,I expect much bigger
things from hm in the future.