Anchorage Aces signed Jose Soto, an unrestricted undrafted free agent pitcher, for a tidy sum and he promptly rewarded the club with a debut complete game shutout effort, allowing just 4 hits and no walks in a game against Calgary today.
Soto’s outstanding effort was helped by 4 runs scored by Aces batters, including a first inning home run by leadoff hitter Katai Kitagawa.
With the win, the Aces took the season opening series from Calgary, 3-1, and 22-year-old Soto earned well deserved Player of the Game honors for his entry into the Bull League. Soto, whose clubhouse nickname is ‘Flinch’, also struck out 5 of 29 batters faced.
Soto was just signed to a 1-year contract the day before his first game, a deal worth over $15.7 million. He was regarded as one of the top-rated undrafted amateurs available on the spring market, which saw a pool of about 20 pitchers from various semi-pro and unaffiliated leagues added to the free agent list, in an effort by the league to address a lack of pitchers available on the free agent market.
Anchorage now sits alone atop of the AEL West Division, while 2016 AEL champion Calgary Inferno slide to the bottom of the AEL East Division.