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:
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...