Soto (1-0) earned the win Tuesday against the Twins by allowing one hit with two strikeouts and zero walks over two scoreless innings. The 26-year-old kept Minnesota off the board during the ninth and 10th innings amid a 3-3 tie, and he earned the victory when Detroit walked it off in the bottom of the 10th. Soto surrendered two runs while recording a save Opening Day, but he's provided three scoreless frames over his past two appearances.
Soto allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning to earn the save against Cleveland in Thursday's season opener. Soto entered with a three-run lead, but he gave up a two-run homer with one out in the frame. He then issued a two-out walk to Ben Gamel, but Soto remained in the game and forced a flyout to secure the Opening Day save. Soto should serve as Detroit's primary closer to begin the regular season, but Bryan Garcia and Jose Cisnero could compete for save chances if he struggles.
Detroit manager A.J. Finch said Soto "very much has closer stuff," and he looks likely to assume the role to begin the season, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reports. Soto has the best pure stuff of any Detroit reliever, and with Joe Jimenez demoted to Triple-A, it looks like the lefty will start the season as the Tigers' closer and could lock down the role long term if he's effective. Bryan Garcia and Jose Cisnero could also be in the mix for saves, but Soto has the most fantasy upside among that trio.
Soto averaged 99.5 mph on his fastball in Friday's Grapefruit League appearance and hit 100.9 mph, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. Soto was overpowering in his clean inning of work against the Blue Jays, tossing 13 pitches (eight for strikes) and striking out one. Manager A.J. Hinch said the lefty was "really in control of his inning," and Soto looks like the frontrunner for the closer role in Detroit at this point. He saved two games for the Tigers last season.
Soto has allowed one run across 2.2 innings so far in Grapefruit League action. He's walked three and struck out four. Soto is walking too many batters in the early going, but he's also exhibiting his overpowering stuff with the four strikeouts. The lefty is likely the top option to close in Detroit, as he has greater strikeout potential than fellow reliever Bryan Garcia. However, no one in the Tigers' bullpen has really established themselves as a dominant closer, so it's possible that new manager A.J. Hinch mixes and matches for a bit, at least until someone stands out. Soto saved two games in three chances last season.
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