Angels report cards: Grading Jose Soriano's electric 2023 season

Jose Soriano had an outstanding rookie season for the Angels
Jun 29, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Jose Soriano (59) reacts
Jun 29, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Jose Soriano (59) reacts / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Soriano entered the 2023 season with a lot to prove. Injuries had derailed his development from at one point being an interesting Los Angeles Angels prospect, to a player who was unprotected and picked in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Soriano wound up finding his way back to the Angels organization after the Pirates DFA'd him, but he was limited to just two minor league appearances in 2021 and seven in 2022.

Despite not pitching much at all in the minors in recent years, the Angels made the decision to protect him this time around from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft by adding him onto their 40-man roster in the 2022 offseason. After watching the year he just had, it's easy to see why.

Soriano had an uneven performance in AA Rocket City but with the Angels bullpen needing a lot of help, they turned to the hard-throwing righty to see if he can help sure things up. By giving Soriano a chance, the Angels found a guy who is going to be a key reliever for this team for a very long time.

Jose Soriano deserves a B+ for his 2023 season

Jose Soriano was called up for the first time in early June and immediately became a key reliever. He recorded holds in six straight appearances after his MLB debut and didn't allow a run through his first seven big league innings. He had his ups and downs after that, but Soriano showed flashes of a guy who can be dominant for the Angels.

The 24-year-old showcased a sinker that sat in the mid-upper 90's, and a curveball that was simply unhittable. Opponents hit .177 against that pitch which he threw 41.2% of the time, and had a .164 xBA against it. In other words, they were lucky to have a .177 batting average against his curveball. He allowed just one home run against that pitch and had a 47.1% whiff rate with it. Just nasty stuff.

Overall, the right-hander had a 3.64 ERA in 38 appearances and 42 innings pitched. He struck out 56 batters which was well above average, but command did fail him at times as he issued 23 free passes. While walks did get into trouble, Soriano often did well to limit damage.

Soriano ended the season as the Angels primary set-up man for Carlos Estevez, and could easily open next season in the same role. He has the stuff to be a lockdown late-game reliever, and if he can get his command straightened out a bit better, a future as the team's closer can't be ruled out. The Angels got everything they could've hoped for out of Soriano in his rookie year, and have to be excited about his future.