At one point in time, it felt like the Los Angeles Angels might've had a legitimate arm on their hands with pitcher Jose Soriano. The right-hander posted a 2.54 ERA in 20 appearances (18 starts) splitting time between Rookie Ball and Single-A. Control was an issue, but he had electric stuff and struck out 92 batters in 82.1 innings of work (10.1 K/9).
Soriano was ascending up Angels prospect rankings but underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2020 which caused the Angels to leave him unprotected ahead of the Rule-5 Draft. Surely enough, Soriano was taken with the first pick of that draft by the Pirates. He'd miss all of 2020 rehabbing, and then re-injure himself after just two appearances in the Pirates system.
Soriano underwent a second Tommy John Surgery before signing back on with the Angels in 2021. He made just seven appearances last season but pitched well enough to earn a spot on the 40-man roster leaving him protected from the Rule-5 Draft, and now he's earned his first call-up to the Majors with the team who had him from the start.
LA Angels pitcher Jose Soriano has successful MLB debut, completing long story with fairytale ending
Jose Soriano made his Major League debut in the bottom of the eighth inning in Houston against the defending champion Astros with the Halos trailing 9-5.
His first batter faced might just be the best pure hitter in all of baseball in Yordan Alvarez. Soriano threw one 99.2 mph fastball and got Alvarez to ground out to the right side.
After issuing a walk to Alex Bregman (the fourth drawn by Bregman), Soriano bounced back and got Jose Abreu to fly out to center field.
Chas McCormick was due up next for Houston and while not being close to their best hitter, McCormick had shown he could hit velocity by launching a home run earlier in the game off of fireballer Ben Joyce.
Soriano, showing no fear, threw three pitches to strike McCormick out and end a successful first inning in the majors. He finished McCormick off with a nasty curveball which had Houston's outfielder flailing.
Soriano will likely work in low-leverage spots at least to start. He has great stuff but command is a huge concern. If he can throw strikes, I think the Angels have themselves a good young arm here.
It feels like Soriano has been through so much, which is absolutely the case, but he's only 24. There's plenty of room for him to grow, and the Angels should be excited about his development so far.