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Top Prospect Alert - Rafael Soriano

By Robert Sherry

Rafael Soriano: Signed as a free agent outfielder back in 1996 out of the Dominican Republic, this 6-foot-1, 175 pound has since made a conversion to the mound and now is looking more and more like a pitcher who could be expected to eventually be a big contributor for the Mariners.

Soriano spent his first two pro seasons as a batter before making the switch to pitching. He has a live arm, capable of hitting in the mid-90s with his fastball. He is working on a slider has his number two pitch and a changeup as his third. Neither of these last two are near his fastball at this point. Since he has only been pitching for two years, this should be expected.

In 2000, Soriano had his best season to date. He pitched for Low-A Wisconsin in the Midwest League. Soriano made 21 starts and posted some impressive numbers, going 8-4 with 2.87 ERA, 122 innings pitched, 97 hits allowed, 50 walks, and 90 strikeouts. If he can master one of both of his secondary pitches, the walk total should improve.

As long as the likes of Ryan Anderson and their other young pitchers come back healthy, the Mariners could have as much quality young pitching talent as anyone in the majors, a far cry from their mid-1990s teams. With this depth, there should be no reason to rush Soriano. He has been a starter throughout his pitching career but will probably be best suited for a relief role. If he can get his slider on par with his fastball, then you could have the making of the Mariners future closer.


 

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