FIU baseball coach Mervyl Melendez has been able to take different collegiate programs to new and considerable heights. He has made the NCAA tournament and challenged the nation’s elite teams previously at Alabama State and Bethune Cookman. In his current role at FIU, located in the center of Miami, Melendez has put a premium on the importance of recruiting and specifically recruiting Florida’s fertile young talent. One example of this initiative is the recent commitment of Central Pointe Christian Academy’s star infielder Christian Soto. Soto is a gifted athlete in the Class of 2022 from Kissimmee who currently plays for the well-respected FTB Tucci Cleveland 15U travel team. Although he is only entering his sophomore season, Christian attracted the interests of many programs before making his commitment to the Panthers.
Soto has an ultimate goal to make it to the major leagues and he certainly has a good role model to look up to. Christian lists Javier Baez as his favorite athlete and revels in how he “plays the game lose and just has fun”. Of course, many high school baseball players have a similar dream about reaching the professional ranks but Christian’s work ethic and dedication separates him from his peers. In this day and age, strength training has become a vital part of baseball development. Understanding this, Soto focuses on squats and deadlifts and is always eager to figure out new ways to help improve not only his skills on the field but his strength and stamina. On the diamond, Christian believes his hitting and his overall enthusiasm for the game are his best assets.
Although baseball is Christian’s only competitive sport, he continues to play other sports for fun. In fact, he lists his most impressive athletic moment as an instance combining multiple achievements. Before a game, he dunked on his baseball coach during a 1 v 1 basketball game. Carrying that same energy into his game, he got a hit off future Cleveland Indians first round pick and flamethrower Daniel Espino. This story encapsulates Christian’s enthusiasm and raw talent that makes him one of the best high school prospects in the state of Florida. Of course, Christian still is only a high school student and enjoys things such as playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and riding jet skis. Something extremely interesting about him is that although he lives and grew up in Central Florida: home of Disney and Universal, he has never been on a rollercoaster. Coach Melendez and FIU have succeeded in bringing in talented Floridians to help bring the Panthers to the upper echelon of college baseball and should he not choose to go in the draft, Christian Soto is someone that fans in Miami need to be very excited about watching in the coming years.