Matt Solter Returns to Saints Staff
Two of the top pitchers in the league. A young arm who struck out 10 in the playoffs last season. A rookie that was fifth in the Frontier League in strikeouts. And now a familiar right-hander that pitched in Double-A last season. The St. Paul Saints starting rotation appears deep, signing a familiar face as Matt Solter, who pitched for the Saints in 2018, returns for the 2020 season.
The 26-year-old Solter began last season at Double-A Akron in the Cleveland Indians organization after they purchased his contract in February from the Saints. He went 1-0 with a 3.51 ERA in five starts. In 25.2 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 26 while opponents hit just .217 against him. Solter allowed just one run over his first three starts, 16.0 innings, including striking out 10 in just 5.0 innings on April 18 against Bowie. On May 6, Solter was assigned to Single-A Lynchburg where he went 4-1 with a 3.76 ERA in eight starts. In 40.2 innings pitched he walked 22 and struck out 36 while opponents hit .248 against him. Over three starts from May 13-23, Solter allowed three runs (two earned) in 17.2 innings pitched. Overall, on the season he was 5-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 13 starts. In 66.1 innings pitched he walked 32, struck out 62 while opponents hit .237 against him.
Solter helped the Saints reach the American Association Championship Series in 2018. He went 3-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 15 appearances, all starts. In 80.0 innings pitched he walked 31, struck out 56 and opponents hit .273 against him. Solter was incredible out of the gate and was one of the top pitchers in the league over the first month of the season going 2-1 with a 1.41 ERA in his first four starts. He earned the Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of May 28-June 3. He tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing four hits on May 28 at Texas and then bested that by retiring the first 18 batters he faced and carrying a no-hitter for 6.2 innings on June 3 at Cleburne.
Solter once again failed to give up much in a start on August 3 against the eventual American Association Champion Kansas City T-Bones, when he allowed one unearned run on one hit in 5.2 innings pitched. Overall, he went 6.0 or more innings six times and allowed three runs or less eight times.
Coming out of Furman University, Solter got his start in the American Association with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. He had a solid rookie campaign going 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 relief appearances. In 25.2 innings pitched he struck out 14 while opponents hit .343 against him.
He impressed the San Francisco Giants and Solter had his contract purchased by the Giants organization in 2016 spending two seasons with them. In his first season he pitched the entire year at Single-A Augusta where he went 4-6 with a 6.45 ERA in 14 starts. In 68.1 innings pitched he struck out 60 while opponents hit .315 against him. Solter had three separate outings in which he pitched 7.0 innings and gave up zero or one run. He had two separate 7.0 inning, three-hit shutout performances.
In 2017 Solter split time at Augusta and High-A San Jose. While with Augusta he went 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in seven games (five starts). In 31.2 innings pitched he struck out 35 and opponents hit .248 against him. He struck out six or more in three of five starts and tossed 5.0 shutout innings of one-hit ball on April 14 vs. Columbia.
He was promoted to San Jose on May 14 and went 5-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 games (seven starts). In 57.1 innings pitched he struck out 46 and opponents hit .261 against him. Solter won his first four decisions and dazzled in his first start allowing just one run in 7.0 innings against Visalia on May 18. Solter missed five weeks from June 8-July 17, but had a 2.89 ERA prior to the injury. As a starter he was 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA in a hitter dominant league.
This is the 11th off-season signing for the Saints.
RHP Tanner Kiest
RHP Eddie Medina
RHP Daniel Minor
RHP Matt Quintana
RHP Matt Solter
RHP Ryan Zimmerman
INF Josh Allen
INF Telvin Nash
INF John Silviano
OF Michael Lang
OF Dan Motl
The reigning American Association Champion Saints begin the 2020 season with the banner raising ceremony on Tuesday, May 19 at CHS Field against the Lincoln Saltdogs at 7:05 p.m.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints