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Alay Soler

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Alaín Soler González

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In 2002, Alay Soler pitched for the Cuban college national team in the first World University Championship, striking out 21 in 13 IP and allowing no runs. He shut out Taiwan in the semifinals to help Cuba claim the Gold Medal. Only Wei-Lun Pan of Taiwan struck out more batters in the tournament. Soler led the 2002-2003 Cuban Serie Nacional in ERA at 2.01, the highest mark to lead the league in 15 years. He went 10-4 and struck out 102 while walking 28 in 125 1/3 innings for Pinar del Río. Soler then defected from Cuba. His career record in the Cuban Serie Nacional was 24-9, 3.53. He had hit .247/~.304/.342 overall.

After defecting, Soler received political asylum in the Dominican Republic. In September of 2004, he was signed by Rafael Bournigal to a 3-year, $2.8 million contract with the New York Mets. Visa problems preventing him from pitching in the USA for the next year. Soler debuted professionally in 2005 with the DSL Mets, going 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA. Baseball America rated him the #10 prospect in the Mets organization.

Soler bounced all over Organized Baseball in 2006, struggling with decreased velocity on his fastball, timed at 91-94 mph previously. His stops included the Brooklyn Cyclones (0-1, 6.23, 9 K in 4 1/3 IP), St. Lucie Mets (2-0, 0.60, .129 opponent average, 33 K in 30 IP in six dazzling starts in high A ball), Binghamton Mets (1-0, 2.75, 22 K, 3 BB in 19 2/3 IP), Norfolk Tides (1-1, 6.30, 12 K in 10 IP) and the MLB Mets (2-3, 6.00 in 8 starts, 23 K: 21 BB in 45 IP). The highlight of his major league season was a 2-hit shutout of the Diamondbacks on June 10. Overall in the minors, he had fanned 76 in 64 innings while allowing only one home run and 18 walks. He battled a leg injury and weight problems during the year.

After a horrid spring training the next year, Soler was released and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Soler went 1-1 with a save and 6.00 ERA for the 2007 Altoona Curve. In 39 innings, he allowed 48 hits and 19 walks (.312 opponent average) before being released in late June.

Soler's primary pitch is his slider.

Sources: 2003-2007 Baseball Almanacs, IBAF website, 2005 Guia Official de Beisbol, MILB.com, MLB.com, Mike's Mets

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