In 2011, Pitt's baseball program caught a pretty big break.
Catcher Elvin Soto, a highly regarded prospect out of New York's Xaverian High School (and also a member of Team USA's 18U team), was headed to Arizona. But fearing he might not get playing time, he opened his recruitment up and had lots of offers from quality baseball programs including Florida State. Told by Pitt head coach Joe Jordano that he would be the No. 1 guy, he decided to join the Panthers.
So Pitt lucked out by getting him to come to the program. But another major bullet had to be dodged as Soto was expected to be selected in Major League Baseball's Draft. Perfect Game rated him as the top player in the entire state. Instead, though, Soto, didn't hear his name in the 50 rounds and headed to Pitt. Safe to say, he wasn't real happy about not being taken:
“It’s really disappointing,” said Soto, who at one point had heard from scouts that he’d be selected somewhere in the top eight rounds of the MLB June Amateur First Year Player Draft. “It’s hard to wrap my head around it.
“But I can guarantee you this: I’m going to get drafted. In two-three years, I’m going to get drafted.”
“I was the top prospect in the city. I’ve represented my country,” Soto said. “It sucks.”
In 2012 as a freshman, he tied for the team lead in home runs and started every game. This year, Soto tied for four in home runs (6) and also in batting average (.320). But it's not just his offense that makes him a top prospect.
As a freshman in 2012, he led the Big East, throwing out 21 runners. And his nearly fielding percentage that season makes him a great defensive player as well. If all of that weren't enough, he also managed Pitt's incredible starting pitchers this year. All three, Ethan Mildren, Matt Wotherspoon, and Rhys Aldenhoven, had banner years.
So will Soto leave early for the MLB Draft this week? That likely will depend where he's drafted - and he almost certainly will not only be taken, but fairly soon. Crawfish Boxes, SB Nation's Houston Astros blog, says Soto is expected to be a 3rd to 5th round pick. Baseball American has him as the No. 229 overall player and also the second best player in Pennsylvania. With sandwich picks, it's hard to predict where that is, but last year, No. 229 fell in the 7th round. Soto could take that and be happy with it, or he could return to Pitt and hope to be taken higher next season for a larger contract.
Obviously, getting Soto back for Pitt would be huge. But I don't know - I get the impression that he wants to get into the pros as quickly as possible based on his comments in that second link above. And if he's taken anywhere fairly early in the draft, my guess is that he's leaving.