Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part five…of 284. Stay tuned.
Isael Arody Soto is a 6′, 190 lb. lefty-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from Bani, DR. Born on this date in 1996, Soto turns 22-years-old today. He signed with the Miami Marlins through free agency in 2013 for $310,000, while still just 17. 26 players from Bani have made it as far as the major leagues, including current big-leaguers Dawel Lugo, Luis Castillo, Francisco Mejia, Pedro Baez, and Jose Ramirez.
A lot was expected of Soto after he made his way to the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the single-A South Atlantic League in 2015. Unfortunately, Soto has remained with the Grasshoppers through the 2018 campaign due to a torn meniscus. According to the MLB Pipeline:
"Though not physically imposing, Soto generates plus raw power with his bat speed. His short, compact swing gives him a chance to hit for a decent average, but he’ll have to improve his pitch recognition and tone down an aggressive approach that currently results in a fair amount of swing-and-miss. Defensively, Soto has the profile of a prototypical right fielder with his average speed and plus arm."
After signing, instead of joining the DSL Marlins in the Dominican Summer League, the Marlins sent him to the Gulf Coast League. The 2014 season would see Soto slash .251/.302/.426 over 50 games, with seven home runs and 23 RBI. On July 19th of that year, Soto went two-for-four with a grand slam in a 9-4 win over the GCL Nationals.
Soto opened the 2015 season as Baseball America’s number seven Miami Marlins prospect. After starting the year by hitting just eight-for-64 for the Grasshoppers, Soto was placed on the disabled list, where he would remain for most of the season. He appeared in five games for the New York-Penn League’s Batavia Muckdogs near the close of the season, and was two-for-21.
Despite his mostly lost season, Soto was still regarded highly enough to rank number eight in the MLB Pipeline’s pre-season Miami Marlins prospects in 2016. He went on to slash .247/.320/.399 over 113 games with the Hoppers, hitting nine home runs with 38 RBI. He also struck out 115 times in 448 plate appearances, a 25.7 percent strikeout rate. On July 24th, he came a single short of the cycle with three RBI in a 4-3 loss to the Augusta Greenjackets. For his efforts, he was later that day named as the SAL Player of the Week, and was also honored as a mid-season all-star.
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Unfortunately, Soto, by then ranked sixth in the Marlins’ system by the Pipeline, missed the entire 2017 campaign with the aforementioned meniscus injury. Ranked as the number 27 Miami Marlins prospect opening the 2018 season, Soto appeared in 96 games for the Grasshoppers and slashed .230/.296/.440 with a team-leading 15 homers and 69 RBI. He had multiple hits in 18 contests, including three-hit games on four occasions. On July 8th, Soto went three-for-five with a homer and five RBI as the Hoppers set down the Lexington Legends, 11-10 in 11 innings.
Not as highly-regarded as in seasons past, Soto nevertheless has a lot to offer the Miami Marlins as a project going forward. A fifth season as a Grasshopper should be out of the question, but the Marlins should find a spot for Soto on the Jupiter Hammerheads.
If Soto resumes the normal progression that he started his professional career with, he could ascend to the Miami Marlins by 2022.
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