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Get to know Gregory Soto

The Phillies acquired the two-time All Star from Detroit as part of a five-player trade

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Just when fans thought the Phillies were done with major additions, Dave Dombrowski and company traded Matt Vierling, Donny Sands, and Nick Maton to the Detroit Tigers, for two-time All Star Gregory Soto and Kody Clemens.

While it is certainly sad to see two beloved members of the Phillies Day Care say goodbye, the return heading to Philly is a good one.

After signing with the Tigers just over a decade ago, Soto said farewell to the only team he’d ever known. Heading into his age 28 season, there is plenty of upside for the flamethrower, who still has three years of team control ahead of him.

After a pair of mediocre seasons, Soto took the reigns as the main man in the backend of a weary Tigers bullpen in 2021. The southpaw has held a firm grasp on Detroit’s closer role through the past pair of seasons.

2021 & 2022 stats: 124 IP, 95 H, 46 ER, 3.34 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 74 BB, 136 K, 5.4 BB/9, 48/52 Saves

Pitch mix: Sinker (45.6%), 4-seam FB (31.9%), slider (21.6%), changeup (1%)

Obviously, the walks are a major issue when it comes to the development of Soto. He has yet to harness his control of an electric fastball which touches 100 mph regularly. His slider that runs around 86-88 mph, makes him effective against right-handed bats as well.

However, opponents were much more successful hitting Soto’s slider than his other pitches. The opposition hit .262 on the slider in 2022, in comparison to .195 on the four-seamer and .237 on the sinker. Interestingly enough, the slider was also the pitch that hitters whiffed the most on at 36.2%.

The idea with Soto, could be for the Phillies to apply an approach similar to the one they used on Jose Alvarado in 2022. While Soto may not develop a cutter, they can work to simplify his mechanics and cut down on the walks. Alvarado tossed four and 23 less innings in 2022 than he did in 2021, but he walked twenty-three less batters. The Phillies know what they are doing. Oh and there’s this cool stat on the newest South Philly southpaw special:

Soto is the perfect candidate to apply the Phillies new pitching approach too. His velocity remains top notch, even climbing .2 mph on his fastball from 2021 to 2022. The knowledge and regular use of three pitches will help him stay unpredictable as he looks to make a name for himself in his first season in the National League.

While he’s not a finished product, a 3.34 ERA and 3.88 FIP are nothing to scoff at. Feast your eyes on this electricity, coming to Citizens Bank Park, April 2023.