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Thread: Mario Soto...A Look Back

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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...
    Last edited by membengal; 03-16-2007 at 11:16 AM.

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  3. #2
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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.

  4. #3
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Member Moosie52's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Does anybody comprehend why Pete Rose supposedly didn't bet on the Reds when Soto pitched? Even Pete isn't that dumb.

  7. #6
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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)
    Makes all the routine posts.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    I wish I could have seen him pitch more often.
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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosie52 View Post
    Even Pete isn't that dumb.
    From today's New York Times...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/16/sp...zYHlpFMjmHzGZg

    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.

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    That is hard to believe. 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.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    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...

  13. #12
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    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.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  14. #13
    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Spitball; 03-16-2007 at 08:13 PM.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    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.

  16. #15
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Mario Soto...A Look Back

    Ah, he appeared in 53 games. With some saves, even.


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