Tigers’ promising lefty Gregory Soto has been reinstated from the restricted list and assigned to High-A Lakeland, per the Tigers PR Department (via Twitter). Soto was added to the 40-man roster for protection in the Rule 5 draft back in 2017, so his reinstatement means the Tigers’ 40-man roster is now full. As Evan Woodbery of MLive Media Group notes (via Twitter), the Tigers can shift Matt Moore to the 60-day IL should they need to open a spot on the 40-man.
Soto, 24, is a power lefty with considerable promise, though he has yet to pitch above High-A. He was the Tigers’ organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2017 after going 12-2 with a 2.25 ERA between Single-A and Lakeland. Last season, Soto struggled to find the strike zone with consistency. He walked 5.56 batters per nine innings en route to an 8-8 season with a 4.45 ERA before being suspended for the first 20 games of 2019.
The reason for the suspension was left unspecified at the time, though the listed infraction denotes “conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball,” in short, though as Woodbery pointed out, this particular case was not prompted by an arrest, domestic violence, drugs or gambling.
Upon his return, the hope would be for Soto to make significant strides towards reaching his presumptive ceiling and one day make the big league rotation, though it’s hard to overlook the fact that his profile mirrors those of many eventual relievers. For now, the Tigers are in a better position than some organizations might be to use a 40-man roster spot on a 24-year-old in High-A. Soto was listed as the Tigers’ 26th ranked prospect at the start of this season by both MLB.com and Fangraphs.