Elvin Soto never doubted he would be drafted to play professional baseball. It was just a matter of time.
The moment didn’t come back in 2011 when Soto, now a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, was the star catcher for Xaverian. He lead his team to the Catholic League Class AA intersectional title, but was not drafted. There was some disappointment, but Soto shrugged it off, confident it would happen eventually.
That time finally came. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Soto in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft — the 480th pick overall — on June 8. Arizona was at the top of the list of teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians, that were interested in him, according to Soto. He could finally enjoy the moment that eluded him two years ago.
“It’s a pretty good feeling, especially after my 2011 when I was a senior in high school,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to see my name being called.”
Soto didn’t exactly see it as it happened. He avoided following the draft closely after not being selected the first time and was driving to the Greyhound Bus station to pick up his parents, who were helping him move out of school. Soto’s father Erasmo broke the news to him when he arrived.
“He’s like, ‘You just got drafted by the Diamondbacks,’ ” Soto said. “I was like, ‘Man, stop playing.’ But he showed me, ‘Here look!’ and then the text messages started coming in.”
The Diamondbacks are getting a player coming off a big season that garnered him an All-Big East first team selection. The 6-foot, 200-pound Soto played in all 59 games and started 57. He hit .320 with six homers, 43 RBIs, and a team best six triples. Soto, who struck out 14 fewer times than in his freshman season, had a .514 slugging percentage and had a .416 on-base percentage for a Pittsburgh Panthers team that went 42–17 overall and 18–6 in conference.
“I didn’t want second or third [team],” Soto said. “I wanted first team. I wasn’t taking anything other than that.”
A lot of his All-Big East selection also had to do with his work behind the plate. Soto admitted to being intimidated by catching the older pitchers when he was a freshman. A year later he took charge and spoke up to offer more advice. The Pittsburgh staff posted a program low 3.59 ERA.
Soto is excited about the possibility of signing with the Diamondbacks, but he knows he would face high expectations. He feels an obligation to perform if he joins and organization that wanted him and took a chance on him.
“Obviously they see something in me,” Soto said. “I’m going to go out there and bust my behind.”Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk