The Dominican native cut his teeth playing pro ball in Japan before being signed by the New York Yankees in 1998. After cups of coffee with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000, he finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting behind future Yankee teammates Ichiro Suzuki and C.C. Sabathia.
Soriano's finest season came in 2002 when he hit .300 with 39 HR and 102 RBI. That year, Soriano led the AL in hits, runs scored and stolen bases. Soriano was one HR shy of being a 40-40 man. He would finish third in AL MVP balloting behind Miguel Tejada and Alex Rodriguez.