I could not pass up this Soto card because it includes Cesar Cedeno, himself one of the most underrated players of the last several decades.
Cedeno joined the Reds in 1982 and had a team-best batting average. That's not saying all that much as his team lost 101 games. Cedeno played all of 1983 and 1984 with the Reds, who were again well sub-.500 each season. This is part of the reason why both Cedeno and Soto are underrated, playing for a lousy team that had fallen far from its recent success (see upcoming #5 on this countdown for another good example of this.)
Anyway, on to Mario Soto specifically:
Soto was well-regarded during his playing days. He was an All-Star 3 different times and received Cy Young votes in 4 different seasons. In 1983, one of the worst years ever for Cy Young voting, Soto finished a distant second to John Denny in the NL despite having mostly superior numbers (such as a better WHIP over more innings.)
However, Soto was largely forgotten due to injuries that finished him by Age 31 and because of some on-field incidents including two suspensions during the 1984 season.
So, here's a reminder of some of Soto's achievements in the 1980s:
From 1980 to 1985, Soto was tops in MLB in strikeouts:
Over that same period, he was 5th in innings pitched, 2nd in OPS against (minimum 100 starts), and 1st in WHIP (minimum 100 starts.)
Quite simply, Mario Soto was one of the top handful of pitchers in all of baseball in the first half of the 1980s. By 1986, he was injured and he was never the same.