Some day, Midwest League batters may figure out how to put something together against Greg Soto. But that day hasn't come.In his fifth start of the season, the Tigers' No. 30 prospect maintained a 0.00 ERA, working around three hits and five walks while striking out eight over six innings as Class
Some day, Midwest League batters may figure out how to put something together against Greg Soto. But that day hasn't come.
In his fifth start of the season, the Tigers' No. 30 prospect maintained a 0.00 ERA, working around three hits and five walks while striking out eight over six innings as Class A West Michigan blanked Kane County, 2-0, on Sunday.
"He's got big league stuff," Whitecaps pitching coach Jorge Cordova told MiLB.com after Soto's April 24 outing. "He's got pro stuff. He has a fastball between 94-96 mph from the left side, which is so hard to make any contact with, and his curveball-slider hybrid is very hard and very tough to hit, too. It has great action down in the zone. The big difference for him this season, though, is he feels more relaxed on the mound."
Over 28 innings this season, the 22-year-old southpaw has held opponents to one unearned run (scored by Lake County in a five-inning outing on April 30) and a .141 batting average. He's struck out 29, but Sunday marked the second straight start in which he issued five walks.
Command appeared to be an issue early. Cougars leadoff man Luis Alejandro Basabe doubled and took third on a wild pitch by Soto (3-0), who walked the next batter ninth-ranked D-backs prospectAnfernee Grier. He fell behind Luis Silverio, 3-1, but battled back to record his first punchout. On the third strike, Grier broke for second and Whitecaps catcher Drew Longley threw to shortstop Daniel Pinero, who fired back home to catch Basabe trying to score. Four pitches later, Soto had another strikeout and was out of the inning.
Although he walked two in the next frame, Soto allowed just one other Cougar to reach third. Having picked off a runner in the second and worked a 1-2-3 third, he walked Silverio on five pitches to start the fourth but fanned Kyle Smith. Manny Jefferson singled to left on a 3-1 pitch to put runners on the corners and Zach Nehrir followed with a fly ball to left field, but Cole Bauml tracked it down and threw out Silverio at the dish.
The native of the Dominican Republic struck out the last two batters he faced and, by the end of the sixth, Soto had thrown 90 pitches, including 45 strikes.
Trent Szkutnik took over and yielded a hit and a walk while fanning three over two innings before Bryan Garcia turned in a perfect ninth for his Midwest League-leading seventh save.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB.