Neftali Soto Signs With Chiba Lotte Marines For 2024 NPB Regular Season 

(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Matthew Tallarini 

Puerto Rican first baseman, Neftali Soto, signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines for the 2024 Nippon Professional Baseball regular season, Yahoo News Japan reported on December 14. 

Soto, 34, was born in Manati, Puerto Rico and will play in his seventh season in Japan when he suits up for the Chiba Lotte Marines to start the 2024 regular season.

Soto began his journey to NPB after he elected free agency on November 6, 2017 with the Washington Nationals organization after he played in Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in the 2017 regular season.  

Last season, Soto played in his sixth season with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in 109 games batting .235 with 399 plate appearances recorded 83 hits, 22 doubles, 14 home runs, 50 RBI, 39 walks, 99 strikeouts, and a .731 OPS helping the organization achieve third place in the Central League with a 74-66-3 record. 

The Baystars lost to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in two games in the best-of-three Central League Climax Series in the 2023 NPB postseason. 

Soto played for Puerto Rico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Pool D in Miami at loanDepot Park helping the nation achieve second place out of pool play with a 3-1 record. Puerto Rico lost to Mexico 5-4 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 WBC in Miami. Soto suited up in four games during the 2023 WBC with 11 at-bats, recorded one hit, scored one run, and struck out three times. 

In 2022, Soto played in 117 games with the BayStars with 412 plate appearances batting .266 smacking 98 hits, 25 doubles, 17 home runs, 49 RBI, 38 walks, 103 strikeouts, and a .815 OPS. 

During the 2021 regular season, Soto played in 123 games with 451 plate appearances and batted .234 recording 96 hits, 18 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 62 RBI, 35 walks, 116 strikeouts, and a .738 OPS. 

Soto has led Nippon Professional Baseball in home runs in two consecutive seasons in 2018 with 41 home runs and 2019 with 43 during his career and had the most RBIs in the 2019 season with 108.

In his six seasons in NPB, Soto has played in 711 games with 2,785 plate appearances batting .262 with 653 hits, 117 doubles, one triple, 161 home runs, 442 RBI, 244 walks, 619 strikeouts, and a .837 OPS. 

All 12 NPB teams will report to training camp in the middle of January prior to the start of the 2024 regular season. 

The Chiba Lotte Marines will travel to Es Con Field to take on the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters on March 29 in the first game of the 2024 regular season. No game start times have been announced for the 2024 NPB regular season.

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