When the Angels signed Soriano in March 2016 for $70,000, he was a tall and thin project with a high ceiling and a long way to get there. He hit the ground running with a strong pro debut in the Dominican Summer League, followed it up with a solid United States debut in 2017, and while he struggled out of the gate with an aggressive assignment to full-season ball in June 2018, he finished strongly. His stuff took another step forward back in the Midwest League in 2019, but his progress was stopped by Tommy John surgery in February, forcing him out for the entire 2020 season. He now may get the chance to continue his rehab and return with the Pirates, who made him the No. 1 selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.
When healthy, the 6-foot-3 right-hander kept adding velocity as he physically matured. His fastball averaged 96 mph in 2019 and touched triple digits at times. He can really spin his breaking ball and it continued to get more consistent, with a chance for it to be plus in time. He committed to throwing his changeup more in 2018 and his feel for the pitch continued to improve.
Soriano has a very athletic delivery, giving hope he’ll eventually get to average command and control. His walk rate did improve in 2019, but he’s still given up 5.1 free passes per nine innings in his career. For a guy who has yet to top 100 innings in a season, Soriano needs reps more than anything else, something he won’t get until 2021 while hopefully sticking in the Pirates big league bullpen.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Soriano signed for just $70,000 in March 2016 and based on his upside alone, that might already be a bargain. After Soriano's stellar United States debut in '17, the Angels pushed Soriano to full-season ball after extended spring training in 2018, where the teenager struggled at first, but finished relatively strongly.
Soriano screams projectability and high ceiling, and he's starting to put his considerable tools together on the mound. His electric fastball will touch 97-98 mph and there's still room for more consistent velocity as he grows into his 6-foot-3 frame. He's always been able to spin his breaking ball, but he improved the consistency in throwing it effectively as it trends towards being a plus pitch. The Angels pushed him to throw his changeup more, and he did it 15 percent of the time in 2018, and it took a big step forward as a result, showing a much better feel for the off-speed pitch.
While Soriano's walk rate spiked in 2018, there is confidence he'll get to average command and control eventually thanks to a very athletic delivery. All he needs are innings and the gloves should come off a bit in 2019, with a chance for him to make a nice leap up this list.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Angels pitching prospects fall into two categories, for the most part. There are the pitchability guys, with Jaime Barria, Griffin Canning, Jesus Castillo and Jose Suarez leading the charge. Then there are the higher upside guys, led by Chris Rodriguez. Soriano, after a very strong United States debut in 2017 in the rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer Leagues, fits firmly into the latter camp.
Soriano, signed for the modest sum of $70,000 in March 2016, has one of the most electric arms in the system. His fastball averaged just over 93 mph in 2017 and touched 96-97 mph at times, and there's reason to believe there could be more in the tank as he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame. His fastball-curve combination is one of the best two-pitch combinations in the organization, as Soriano can really spin his breaking ball, which flashes plus at times. His changeup is his third pitch, but there is confidence it can eventually be an average offering.
Soriano has already put on good weight and strength, leading to the extra velocity that showed up in 2017. He has a very good delivery that he just needs to work on repeating more consistently, which should lead to better overall command. All the ingredients are there, with patience mixed in, for Soriano to grow into at least a mid-rotation starter.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
There are international signings that make a huge splash in terms of huge bonus figures. Then there are those who sign for less and look like a bargain deal with a strong start to their career. Soriano fits the latter category, signing for $70,000 in March 2016 and then making a strong United States debut in 2017, earning a promotion from the Arizona League to the Pioneer League in the process.
Soriano is an intriguing combination of stuff and projection. The 6-foot-3 right-hander currently throws his fastball in the 92-94 mph range, occasionally touching 95, and there could very well be more in the tank as he fills out his frame. The teenager can really spin a curveball, and with some feeling it could eventually be a plus pitch. Soriano's changeup is his third pitch, but he has feel for it and it has the chance to be a third average offering. He's typically around the strike zone and has done a job getting ground-ball outs in his nascent pro career.
A good arm action and a clean and repeatable delivery give Soriano a better chance to develop from a pure power guy into a more complete pitcher. He might have a ways to go, but the Angels are thrilled with the progress Soriano has made so far.