Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Relief Pitcher – Joakim Soria
Plucked from the San Diego Padres system in the 2006 Rule V Draft, the Kansas City Royals had an immediate sense of what type of pitcher Joakim Soria could be. Less than a week after his selection, Soria pitched the third perfect game in the history of the Mexican Pacific League.
Despite his dominance as a starter that winter, Soria’s future with the Royals was in the bullpen. There, he continued that dominance he flashed during that offseason, stepping in and becoming a key contributor to the relief corps as a rookie. He finished with 17 saves in 2007, and seized control of the closer role by the end of the year.
Before injuries cut his time in Kansas City short, Soria had established himself as one of the best closers in Royals history. In his five seasons with the team, he notched 160 saves with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.043 WHiP, striking out 341 batters in 315.1 innings of work. A two time All-Star, Soria was one of the few bright spots on a series of mediocre Royals squads.
Currently a free agent, Joakim Soria may end up coming back to the Royals. Even though it would likely be in a setup role this time, Soria, if the price is right, could come back to the site of his initial success, which is certainly fitting given his place in the all time Royals bullpen.
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