Last season, Detroit Tigers reliever Gregory Soto could not find the strike zone what so ever, hopefully, the 2020 season will be a change of pace for him.
The Detroit Tigers relievers are absolute garbage, and in 2019 the back end was supposed to be anchored down by Shane Greene and Joe Jiménez. Gregory Soto was supposed to be a flamethrowing left-hander with high strikeout numbers.
The issue was he could not seem to find the strike zone or manage to stay in the zone when he did find it. Looking at his numbers, he was in the trenches compared to other relievers across the league as well as near the bottom on the Tigers bullpen stats.
Last season was his first season in the big leagues, Soto is now twenty-five years old and looking to become a mainstay in the Tigers bullpen. In 2019 Soto pitched in thirty-three games totaling 57.2 innings pitched.
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Soto would go on to allow seventy-four hits, walk thirty-three hitters, strikeout forty-five, while producing a 5.77 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP.
He had a 5.2 BB/9 rating, and some of his advanced statistics were also not great in comparison to the rest of the league.
His 12.0 BB% rating was in the bottom nine percent of the league, alongside plenty of other ratings in the bottom tenth percentile of Major League Baseball.
His average exit velocity when players were putting the ball in play was 90.5 MPH, which was in the bottom three percent of the league.
So not only was he struggling to find the zone but when he did find the zone, he was giving up plenty of hits.
His hard-hit percentage was 42.8%, which falls into the bottom seven percent of the league. To make a long story short, looking at Soto’s numbers, he ranked as one of the worst relief arms in the league.
Now the Tigers do not have a strong bullpen or a lot of trade chips in the bullpen, but Soto’s lack of control makes things hard. This spring, Soto had 4.2 innings of work, only walking two hitters, hitting one, striking out five, and allowing three runs on four hits.
The way things stand now, there will be another Spring Training camp before games can begin if that is the route the league goes; hopefully, Soto will continue to make improvements and find the zone more.
If Soto wants any hope to stick as a setup man in the Detroit Tigers bullpen, he has to show improvements in the 2020 season.