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membengal
03-16-2007, 10:56 AM
I looked around for a Soto specific thread re: his playing days, and didn't see one (if I missed one, I apologize and ask the mods to banish these thoughts there), so I hope this is OK for this forum. I originally posted these thoughts on a TeamDunn pictures thread, but didn't realize it was in a picture forum, and was curious about others' memories of Soto. I looked him back up again this morning, and his career with Cincy really was remarkable. The numbers are crazy. More so because of the era we are now in.

I was born in 1970, and Soto was easily my favorite Red during the bad years. But time has dimmed my memory as to just how good he was. His overall stats from baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/sotoma01.shtml

The years that are eye-popping:

1980: 190 innings, 12 starts, 3 complete games, 182 Ks, 3.07 ERA 1.10 WHIP
1981: 175 innings, 25 starts, 10 complete games, 151 Ks, 3.29 ERA 1.16 WHIP
1982: 257 innings, 34 starts, 13 complete games, 274 Ks, 2.79 ERA 1.06 WHIP
1983: 274 innings, 34 starts, 18 complete games, 242 Ks, 2.70 ERA 1.10 WHIP
1984: 237 innings, 33 starts, 13 complete games, 185 Ks, 3.53 ERA 1.12 WHIP
1985: 256 innings, 36 starts, 9 complete games, 214 Ks, 3.58 ERA 1.16 WHIP

It fell off after that, rather precipitously. I went back and rechecked all of this because of Dowd's finding that Rose never bet on Soto. That would have been the 1986 or 1987 Soto when he had lost it, but surely not before that, because before that, Soto turned in a stretch of pitching nearly unrivaled in this organization's history for power and effectiveness.

I was 16 when he lost it, and don't remember what it was that ended him, I would presume some arm issues. The workload was insane, compared to what we are used to today, and his 1980 is bizarre. That's not a lot of starts to amass those innings and Ks. A lot of long relief outings and the like,I would guess. If Redszone had been around then, we would likely have started a nuclear reaction calling for him to start long before he did that year.

An amazing pitcher.

Sorry for the detour from chat about today's edition of the men of Red, but this seemed like a decent time to look back at his career...

OldRightHander
03-16-2007, 12:33 PM
Soto was one of my favorite pitchers of all time to watch. He could be so dominating with just two pitches due to that devastating circle change he threw. I think part of his downfall was due to efforts to get him to learn a third pitch. Perhaps trying to throw curves and the like messed with his arm.

Always Red
03-16-2007, 12:48 PM
Soto was one of the lone bright spots during a time of very bad Red's baseball. There were more than a few days when he was nearly unhittable, although he never had a no-no. I remember George Hendrick of St. Louis breaking one up with two outs in the 9th- with a HR, of all things.

Just imagine if he'd have been around 5 years earlier!

Soto was also a fiery competitor, and I agree with you, membengal, he's one of my very favorite Reds pitchers of all time.

Johnny Footstool
03-16-2007, 01:23 PM
Soto finishing a distance 2nd to John Denny in the 1983 Cy Young voting was a heinous crime perpetrated by the baseball writers of America.

Moosie52
03-16-2007, 01:43 PM
Does anybody comprehend why Pete Rose supposedly didn't bet on the Reds when Soto pitched? Even Pete isn't that dumb.

Redsland
03-16-2007, 01:47 PM
Because during the time period in question, Mario was hurt a lot, and because he also put up ERA+ numbers of 82, 83, and 77 during those years (1986-1988)

Chip R
03-16-2007, 01:54 PM
I wish I could have seen him pitch more often.

Always Red
03-16-2007, 01:56 PM
Even Pete isn't that dumb.

From today's New York Times...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/16/sports/baseball/16chass.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=sports&adxnnlx=1174067624-+Z8ppEZIzYHlpFMjmHzGZg


For example, the records showed that in 69 instances, Rose bet $2,500 or more on a game. Astoundingly, he lost 64 of those 69, which computes to a .072 success rate. Had Rose had that kind of average at the plate, he wouldn’t have lasted long enough to get 200 hits, let alone 200 hits in 10 separate seasons.

:eek:

Spitball
03-16-2007, 02:08 PM
Can you imagine if the Reds had watched Soto's pitch counts and innings pitched the way the Red Sox babied Pedro's? Can you imagine the Twins letting Santana throw 1,000 innings over four years? It is sad to think what could have been.

RedsBaron
03-16-2007, 02:48 PM
From today's New York Times...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/16/sports/baseball/16chass.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=sports&adxnnlx=1174067624-+Z8ppEZIzYHlpFMjmHzGZg



:eek:

That is hard to believe.:eek: is right.
Soto came to the Reds five years too late, or five years too early, managing to miss both eras when the Reds had good teams. A healthy Soto in his prime could've been a 25+ game winner a season on any of the 1972 through 1979 teams, and would have at least been a 20 game winner on the 1987-90 teams. Instead, he had his best years during three seasons when the Reds were at their worst.
Oh, the Reds overused Soto just as they did Gary Nolan, Wayne Simpson, Don Gullett, et al.

membengal
03-16-2007, 03:04 PM
Can you imagine if the Reds had watched Soto's pitch counts and innings pitched the way the Red Sox babied Pedro's? Can you imagine the Twins letting Santana throw 1,000 innings over four years? It is sad to think what could have been.

No doubt. He pitched in an era of obscene pitcher abuse. JR Richards' innings through that era in insane as well...

Johnny Footstool
03-16-2007, 03:11 PM
No doubt. He pitched in an era of obscene pitcher abuse. JR Richards' innings through that era in insane as well...

Although the pitchers of that era were throwing more innings, they were also allowing fewer hits and runs, which means they were facing fewer batters per inning. I don't have the actual numbers, but I'm pretty sure they were throwing fewer pitches per game. While this wouldn't completely offset the increased workload, it would mitigate it somewhat.

Spitball
03-16-2007, 07:24 PM
Although the pitchers of that era were throwing more innings, they were also allowing fewer hits and runs, which means they were facing fewer batters per inning. I don't have the actual numbers, but I'm pretty sure they were throwing fewer pitches per game. While this wouldn't completely offset the increased workload, it would mitigate it somewhat.

Pedro Martinez /Year-Pitches
'97-947
'98-951
'99-834
'00-817

Mario Soto/Year-Pitches
'82-1033
'83-1114
'84- 971
'85-1055

You might not feel these numbers are significant, but I think they show Martinez's pitch counts were monitored more closely than Soto's. I would have loved to have seen Soto used more carefully.

Dom Heffner
03-16-2007, 07:29 PM
1980: 190 innings, 12 starts, 3 complete games, 182 Ks, 3.07 ERA 1.10 WHIP

Can this be right? 12 starts produced 190 innings? Good heavens, that's 13 innings a start or something.

Dom Heffner
03-16-2007, 07:30 PM
Ah, he appeared in 53 games. With some saves, even.

redsfanmia
03-16-2007, 07:31 PM
The thing that I remember about Soto was his battles with Claudel Washington, it seemed like they fought everytime they played against each other.

The first Reds game I went to was a 2-1 Reds victory in which Soto out dueled Fergie Jenkins of the Cubs, Alex Trevino hit a triple to drive in atleast one of the runs.

cincinnati chili
03-16-2007, 08:23 PM
Perhaps my favorite Red ever. Since he really only had two pitches, I wonder if most organizations would have let him start. Since the Reds were so awful, they didn't have much choice.

I remember when George Hendrick broke up his no hitter in the 9th. I was crushed. Didn't have much to cheer about in those years, besides Mario.

Spitball
03-16-2007, 08:29 PM
The thing that I remember about Soto was his battles with Claudel Washington, it seemed like they fought everytime they played against each other.


I remember one battle when Washington swung at a pitch and let go of his bat which sailed toward Soto. When the dugouts emptied and Braves were restraining Washington, Soto fired the ball at him. I believe Soto also got a punch in there at some point.

Spitball
03-16-2007, 08:38 PM
Since he really only had two pitches, I wonder if most organizations would have let him start. Since the Reds were so awful, they didn't have much choice.


A starter can get away with two pitches when they are both outstanding pitches that he can locate. Bartolo Colon, for example, is basically a fastball and slider pitcher.

LINEDRIVER
03-16-2007, 11:57 PM
AUGUST 7, 1977 … Reds’ rookie pitcher Mario Soto, making his third big league start, shuts down the hard-hitting line-up of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a seven-hit shutout in Cincinnati. Reds 6, Pirates 0.

membengal
03-17-2007, 08:44 AM
AUGUST 7, 1977 … Reds’ rookie pitcher Mario Soto, making his third big league start, shuts down the hard-hitting line-up of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a seven-hit shutout in Cincinnati. Reds 6, Pirates 0.

And it still took him another three years to get a crack at consistently starting for the Reds...

Tony Cloninger
03-17-2007, 10:26 AM
Soto may have thrown more pitches than Pedro but he also started about 2-4 more games a year than him also....during those years that were mentioned.

So when i look at the pitch counts....instead of the innings, like some people that seem to get bent out of shape about.... you see his pitch counts on avg. are probably less.

KySteveH
03-19-2007, 01:26 AM
I was born in 1970, and Soto was easily my favorite Red during the bad years.

You and I are the same age, and I can remember looking forward to the Soto starts during those lean years. Seems like every game on TV (45 per year, maybe?) was Bruce Berenyi, Frank Pastore, but never Soto.

I always held out hope for being a successful pitcher, despite not having a good breaking ball, because of Soto. Of course, I didn't have a great change-up either, so things never really worked out on that front.

Johnny Footstool
03-19-2007, 12:24 PM
Pedro Martinez /Year-Pitches
'97-947
'98-951
'99-834
'00-817

Mario Soto/Year-Pitches
'82-1033
'83-1114
'84- 971
'85-1055

You might not feel these numbers are significant, but I think they show Martinez's pitch counts were monitored more closely than Soto's. I would have loved to have seen Soto used more carefully.

Those pitch counts don't look right. If a pitcher averages 90 pitches per start, 30 starts would require 2700 pitches. Pedro and Soto were both pitching 30 or more games per year, so those numbers look way too low.

Team Clark
03-19-2007, 03:49 PM
I was 16 when he lost it, and don't remember what it was that ended him, I would presume some arm issues.

It was a complete tear of the rotator cuff. The surgery was not nearly as perfected as it is today. I remember a big spread in the Enquirer detailing the rotator cuff and Soto's surgery. I have on tape to this day Soto's return. He was throwing 87-88. He later said he was "afraid to let go" fearing he would re-injure the arm. His changeup was not as devastating because he had lost so much zip on his FB. In person I first met Soto as a kid (13-14?) at the new Crosley in Blue Ash. What a treat! He and I share the same birthday and I told him about that. He said "Happy Birthday to us in a few weeks" as it was already July. Signed an autograph and away he went. Pretty cool.

4256 Hits
03-19-2007, 09:51 PM
Those pitch counts don't look right. If a pitcher averages 90 pitches per start, 30 starts would require 2700 pitches. Pedro and Soto were both pitching 30 or more games per year, so those numbers look way too low.

Just a guess I bet they are batter faced.

Strikes Out Looking
03-19-2007, 09:57 PM
Perhaps my favorite Red ever. Since he really only had two pitches, I wonder if most organizations would have let him start. Since the Reds were so awful, they didn't have much choice.

I remember when George Hendrick broke up his no hitter in the 9th. I was crushed. Didn't have much to cheer about in those years, besides Mario.

I remember that game well. I think I was there--or I watched the whole thing on TV. It now reminds me why I hated George Hendrick!

Spitball
03-20-2007, 11:55 PM
Just a guess I bet they are batter faced.

You are probably right. Apparently pitch counts were not kept until the late eighties. My bad.

Ltlabner
03-21-2007, 12:56 PM
And it still took him another three years to get a crack at consistently starting for the Reds...

Whoa...what would the RZ pressure been like back then to get him into the roation? hahahaha

I called into a sports show on WLW (I can't remmber if it was the HSL or something else) when Mario Soto was a guest. I was very young at the time and quite nervous. So I did the only logical thing a youngster could do, I asked Marty what the difference between and earned and unearned run was.

But I love Soto. What a tallent that was seemingly wasted by being on the wrong team at the wrong time. What might have been.