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jorge soler cubsA dude goes into a Monday Night Football game needing just seven points from Adrian Peterson, and a dude expects to win. An absurdly stacked box and 28 yards later, and a dude lost.

  • Baseball America has a significant write-up on Jorge Soler, who is seeing his first game action in several months in the Arizona Fall League. It’s a very interesting read for a variety of reasons, so check it out. His coaches in the AFL say he’s got a great attitude and is working hard, but that he’s still getting back into baseball form, which includes his approach at the plate. It has taken a slight hit with his time off (and Soler had missed a ton of time in the previous two years while defecting). That’s to be expected, and I’ve compared the AFL to a kind of Spring Training for Soler – he’s going to take some ugly swings. At least one of his coaches says he came into the system having an impressive discipline ability at the plate, so hopefully that will come back to him as he sees more game action. There’s video included of Soler in the cage, and then legging out a double. He looks as big and strong as ever, but he definitely looks a little stiff.
  • Among the other interesting bits from the article? Soler and Albert Almora continue to get close, which is pretty cool. Almora could start out 2014 at High-A, and, given his missed time, Soler could begin the season there next year, as well.
  • If you’re looking to get in on some post-season betting – the World Series is here, after all – then you can get the odds on allpro.eu.
  • Baseball America also reviewed the Cubs’ 2013 draft a bit, keying on some of the top performers. Among them (some of the ones that aren’t obvious – Kris Bryant is good), 6th rounder Scott Frazier has the best fastball and 4th rounder Tyler Skulina has the best breaking ball. Third rounder Jacob Hannemann (who missed most of his post-draft season with a couple injuries from which he’s now recovered) is the best defender, and 9th rounder Charcer Burks is the fastest player.
  • Jesse Rogers with a fun interview of Kris Bryant. He’s ready to play where the Cubs tell him to play – though he thinks he can stick at third – and he’s ready to head to whatever level the Cubs send him to next year.
  • The second annual Walk-Off for Cancer – the 5K event that benefits Anthony Rizzo’s foundation – will be December 15 in Parkland, Florida. You can get more details here, and learn how to sign up.
  • ajbulls23

    I saw Jorge play last week. He looked good in the field but his bat and foot speed were a little slow. Looked like he was working through knocking off the rust. But his skills are very real.

    • ajbulls23

      I have seen him play in the AZ Rookie League and the AZ Fall League, and the kid is for real. Saturday I saw him make a diving catch and also prevented a runner from scoring from second on a base hit to right on a one hope laser from mid right field. But his bat seemed a little slower from when he was here from the rookie league, but it was his first action for a couple of months.

  • Die hard

    Good thing don’t treat ballplayers like horses

  • Kyle

    We’re so eager to latch on to excuses for underperformance. Maybe it’s legit, maybe Soler is just not doing well and his coaches are covering for him. There was also reference in the article to scouts saying he had problems with breaking balls (something that, iirc, was always thought to be his potential downfall).

    • ssckelley

      Show me these excuses that “we” are latching on to. Would you feel better if we all just said that Soler sucks?

      • On The Farm

        Perhaps instead of being optimistic about a 21 year old High A ball player, we should all just give up on him.

        • ssckelley

          Yep, and we all know who to blame if Soler fails. I am sure Kyle will be one of the first to tell us.

          There have been posters on here that have seen him play live and they have all expressed the same concerns and now we have a BA report echoing the same thing. But I guess we are all homers for suggesting that some of his issues is due to the amount of time he has missed. We should all just face the fact that after 35 at bats in the AFL that Soler is flaming out.

          • On The Farm

            And now cue Jon and they “we passed up Puig for this?” posts. This is a never ending argument. I don’t understand why people don’t first off accept that this FO went with Soler not Puig, its done. Secondly we have Soler locked up for quite a few years so why not root for the most optimistic outcome. Its like the Rizzo and Castro haters, I don’t get it. They have a lot of money committed to them for the next several years, they are in their early 20s, we’re a bad team anyway. Why don’t we give these kids a shot? Hell you see posters on here all the time saying “at least call up Player X so the fans can have something to be excited about and give the kid MLB experience.” So now we have a couple kids on the roster and as soon as the going gets tough, everyone gives up. I am just asking for a little patience.

            • caryatid62

              If you can’t handle people’s opinions when they’re not optimistic about the minor league system, you realize you can ignore them, right?

              Some people get so butthurt when you dare to propose that you have concerns about a Cubs minor leaguer, especially one of the “Big Four.” My gosh…

              • ssckelley

                No, that is not what Kyle said. Follow the chain closely starting with Kyle, show me where WE have been latching on to excuses with Soler. Most of what I have seen from here has been eye witness accounts that have said Soler looked rusty at the plate and one even suggested he was a little out of shape. The fact that he has not played since May, IMO, is a legitimate explanation and not just an excuse. Especially when I see these same words being said by people that are not Cub fans and analysis this stuff for a living.

                • Spriggs

                  I believe I was one of the posters you referred to who saw him in person and said he looked out of shape and rusty. To me there is not a question about that. However, I am in no way low on Soler nor did I mean to infer that he is flaming out, etc.

                  I’ve seen that he is very athletic, has loads of talent, all the tools, and can crush a baseball. Lots of us have seen it. Right now my fear is that he is still hurt and seems to be nursing an injury. Everything about his game is out of sync right now. I would hate to see him lose more time. Between his lack of baseball playing over the last year or two – and a lingering injury, would just hate to see him lose more time. I hope I am wrong about the injury – and it’s all just rust…

                  • jt

                    Thanks for taking the time and relating what you have seen.
                    Very cool and another reason to like this site.

                  • ssckelley

                    Yeah, you have commented on it and there was another guy who posted a real good report that made one of Brett’s bullets that said the same thing. In fact I think it was him that mentioned Soler looked a little out of shape.

              • mjhurdle

                If you can’t handle someone’s opinions on other people’s posts, you realize you can ignore them, right?

                • On The Farm

                  Ah well said MJ, you beat me too it.

              • On The Farm

                I could say the same thing to you, and say you realize I can express my opinion right? I mean if my gosh if the people that are butt hurt bother you sooooo much, you could just ignore us.

                For the record, I am not butt hurt, I just don’t understand from a logic stand point why everyone is ready to give up on our youngsters. If you can explain to me in a civil argument why you think Soler has a sufficient enough of PAs that he could qualify as not who we thought he was, please do.

        • D-Rock

          Agreed. Let’s all adopt Kyle’s extreme pessimism and constantly talk negative about young players or the FO who brought in these young players. Squash any hope you have for the Cubs future- it’s doom and gloom according to Kyle.

          • Brains

            We should be negative about our bumbling front office, yes, the young players no. And just for the record I think the FO is only half bumbling, with the MLB team, which unfortunately is pretty much most of what counts.

          • Edwin

            False Choice much?

          • cubmig

            A comment on the “doom and gloom” comment.

            The “gloom and doom” doesn’t come from Kyle. It’s the org culture that has us in that frame of mind.

            The owners (past & present), Player Development Staff/scouts, GMs, Managers, hitting and pitching coaches…..you name them. They all, at some point or at some time have had the finger pointed at them as “cause” for a failure in their specialty. Whatever “good” they did, it didn’t last or translate into the winning we crave. Those people lost their jobs for not delivering while the decision-makers who hired them continued in theirs. Ironically, the manager we hate a lot (the most?) is the manager that got us 5 outs from going to the WS. That moment unleashed a “doom & gloom” across Cubsdom that we are still recovering from. Talk about finger pointing…..

            We’re at the bottom of the barrel as a team. The current org is trying to fix us. We are chiming in as loyal fans. Good or bad, we have opinions about what we see, know, believe and view as the way forward in the “fixing” the FO is about. In that, Kyle is a voice. You are a voice. I am a voice.

            Personally, I like the thought-stirring Kyle provokes. I like the level of argument his posts generate as well — as long as it’s civil as On The Farm has pointed out. It’s the only way we can negotiate and sharpen our own views. Difference and contrast defines.

            Keep it coming.

      • CubFan Paul

        Continually bringing up the time missed to defecting & injury are always the 1st two excuses for his performance or lack thereof.

        • Eric

          I just can’t understand why this FO doesn’t take you, Kyle, and diehard seriously and just release Soler already. He’s obviously a waste of money.

          • CubFan Paul

            Yeah, because that’s what I said

            • Eric

              Hey, either we have to focus on the negative every time a Soler post is published or we can focus on reality. Your choice.

              • CubFan Paul

                If only I knew what you’re talking about.

                • Eric

                  I suspect you feel that way a lot.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    I answered ssckelley’s question (“Show me these excuses that “we” are latching on to”) with the two examples/excuses Brett used in the post…

                    And you went off on a tangent assuming my thoughts…

                    • Eric

                      Because two sentences are a tangent.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Because two sentences are a tangent”

                      When they are not what was being discussed, yes, your two sentences were a tangent to the conversation.

                • Eric

                  “When they are not what was being discussed, yes, your two sentences were a tangent to the conversation.”

                  Ok. In the future, the phrase is, “to go off at a tangent..” But obviously the last word is important to you. I’ll allow you to have it.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Funny way of admitting you were wrong.

        • Jason P

          He doesn’t even really need excuses to be made for him. He posted an .810 OPS in the FSL, a pitcher’s league. He was very good when he played, he just wasn’t as great as Baez. I don’t know why people are freaking out about him so much.

          • Edwin

            I don’t see where anyone is freaking out. He posted a wRC+ of 128, good for 14th amongst OF with 230 PA or more in the FSL. His OPS ranked 10th among OF. It’s good, but it’s not quite at the level that you’d expect a top prospect to be at. Maybe it is just injuries, or just him adjusting, and he’ll come out gangbusters next year. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.

            • On The Farm

              And he was 4th in OFers with a .186 ISO, 13th in wOBA. Also, you know what’s funny about where he ranks in the wOBA and wRC+? There are only two hitters in front of him on that list that are 21 (Polanco of the Phillies) or younger (#1 prospect Buxton). Its ignoring the fact that repeating a minor league level you are expected to put up good numbers. Over course the 23 and 24 year old are putting up better FSL numbers than Soler, this is probably their second and third year in the league.

            • hansman

              For me, it’s about where I’d expect a guy to be given the circumstances. Now, I do expect that he will breakout this year and be at the same point Baez is now once the season wraps up.

              • Edwin

                That’s very fair.

          • ssckelley

            Back in April Soler was better than Baez. Baez did not come on until the last week of April (I think he won player of the week) and into May. Soler had gotten off to a good start after ST, all while playing with an injured shin.

        • hansman

          Well, those are, kinda big things. Now, if he performs averagely all of next year we can board the disappointment train.

          • Brains

            I’ve already boarded, but you guys are disappointed about the wrong thing. Lay off the 20 year old for another two years and see what we’ve got.

        • cms0101

          Forget the defecting “excuses”. Him missing the 2nd half of this past season is reason enough to say he might be a little rusty. Same with Almora. He’s probably going to be a streaky hitter with that long swing and large torso. But he’s got power that just oozes out of his bat. The Cubs have positioned themselves nicely with solid power bats throughout the minor leagues. If they can develop and become major leaguers, it’s going to be fun to watch. AFL mediocre performance, just like AFL dominant performance(Bryant), doesn’t mean that much in the end. They all just need to get their work in, see better pitching, and progress.

      • Edwin

        Kyle makes a valid point. Soler performed well, but it’s not like he was blowing the doors off the league. Maybe it was because he was still rusty, or due to injuries (those would be the excuses that everyone is latching on to), but it could also be something more serious, like a lack of ability to adjust to a quality breaking ball.

        Obviously, Soler doesn’t suck, and there’s no reason to give up on him. This shouldn’t be an all or nothing evaluation. However, it’s something to keep in mind as we evaluate him going forward.

      • Kyle

        There were two explanations in that article for Soler’s sucking in the AFL. One from a scout, one from his coach. One was clearly something we, as fans, would hope to true (rust) and the other (problems with breaking balls, approach) was not. Which one do you think I’ve heard more from Cubs fans in the last 24 hours, and which one was virtually ignored?

        • Eric

          Where would us Cubs fans be without you to keep us grounded? Like any fisherman, you’re only as good as your bait.

        • ssckelley

          But in Soler’s case doesn’t one issue affect the other? If he had been playing up to this point and had been struggling you bet I would be concerned about his approach to breaking pitches.

        • DarthHater

          “Which one do you think I’ve heard more from Cubs fans in the last 24 hours, and which one was virtually ignored?”

          I know when I get up each morning, the first thing I say to myself is: “I wonder what silly things Kyle has heard from Cubs fans in the last 24 hours?”

    • Jason P

      It’s like 10 games in a fall league after he missed half a season. Of course there’ll be rust. When he was healthy, he didn’t destroy FSL pitching, but he certainly didn’t struggle, either. Maybe ideally you want an. 850 OPS from him in that league, and he posted an. 817. Not that big a difference.

      • ssckelley

        The first month of FSL he was dominating, a lot of us were wondering if he would get a promotion to AA. He started struggling in May (cue excuse) some of it may have been due to the lingering injury he had from spring training.

        We will see what happens, in Solers defense he seems to be getting a hit in every game he plays. The amount of strikeouts are a concern, but not something that has been a problem previously so naturally it is logical to think the amount of time off has had something to do with it.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Yes and no. In this case, the excuses appear pretty legit….for now.

      But yes, many people like to lean on excuses before they finally turn nasty on people. Trey McNutt and Ian Stewart are two very good examples.

    • Big Daddy

      Kyle, you are such a joyful person. In the famous words of Mark Grace to Sammy Sosa, “Go have a glass of milk and smile a little”.

    • Jon

      I think it’s fair to say we signed the wrong Cuban.

      • davidalanu

        You’re late.

      • macpete22

        Keith Law even said Soler is better than Puig

        • Jon

          I was just teasing because like always “On the Farm” put words in my mouth. In my lamenting of not getting Puig, I never seriously mentioned him as in place of Soler, hell we could have had both.

          • On The Farm

            My bad, from now on I will refrain from posting that you said we passed Puig for Soler.

          • ssckelley

            I am with you on this Jon, my biggest disappointment with this FO is finishing 2nd on Cespedas, Puig, and not even getting in the game on Abreu.

            Sign all Cuban players!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The good news is that impartial observers who’ve actually watched Soler this year and this Fall haven’t changed their opinion on him as a top 35 prospect in baseball. Isn’t that at least as meaningful as some post-injury struggles?

      • Brains

        This is like some kind case of Freudian transference about the realization of the inevitability of just how long it would take until we *might be good. And the realization that all of this giant PR campaign might have been a bust in the first place. So people are picking on children.

      • Edwin

        Agreed. That is still very encouraging, and I’m still really excited about following Soler.

      • Kyle

        Well, there was that impartial observer referenced right there in the article. The scout that said he had problems with spin and approach. It was contrasted with his coach saying it’s just rust and he’s fine.

        So two diverging opinions on Soler’s AFL performance. Either might be valid. Which one do you think I’ve seen heavily featured in every summary of the article I’ve read posted by a Cubs fan site, and which one was mostly ignored?

        • mjhurdle

          I would say one might be ignored for now because it is practically impossible to discern at this point.
          The facts are that Soler is out of shape (due to injury) and has not played baseball in a long while. Those are not excuses, or opinions.
          Maybe Soler ends up never being able to hit breaking balls. Maybe the scouts report would not change after another 100/200/500 ABs. But right now, there is a gigantic variable that none of us can quantify (how much Soler’s time off/conditioning is affecting his ABs).
          So for now, i think it is fair to say that he is ‘rusty’, at least until the point in time where you can reasonably expect that he is as ‘back to form’ as possible. At that point, judge away.

          • Kyle

            You almost had it. You were fine until the last paragraph. It’s fair to say *we don’t know* if he’s just rusty or has problems with moderately advanced breaking stuff.

            • Andrew

              I’m guessing the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I think there is a good chance he is rusty but also has trouble with breaking balls. Plenty of successful players have had trouble with breaking balls so while that is a knock on him, its far from a death sentence.

    • Andrew

      A guy having trouble with breaking balls is pretty common. Soriano was terrible when pitchers threw breaking stuff, but was productive all the same. The key is laying off the good breaking pitches which if what they say about his discipline is true, hopefully he can do.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      I don’t latch onto anything; I hope to better understand truth through different perspectives. The coach and scout are quite possibly both correct; Soler is rusty and therefore having greater issues with breaking stuff. Cubs coaches may have a better feel for his swing in totallity, while the scout sees what is in front of him today.

      Why can’t these both be true?

      • ssckelley

        Heck no! You are either a kool aid drinker or negative nancy. Choose wisely!

  • Eric

    I get why some people enjoy playing devil’s advocate and want to continually remind people of the negative side of all-things-Cubs, but that doesn’t change the fact that Soler’s talent is very real. It’s way too early to declare him a bust.

    • Edwin

      I don’t think anyone has declared him a bust. Just expressing concerns to pay attention to going forward.

      • Eric

        When those concerns are continually shown to be invalid, there is a problem.

        • Edwin

          How have those concerns continually been shown to be invalid?

          • Brains

            Reality has shown the current expectations of our minor leaguers to be invalid. IT’s too soon and there’s too much attention on players who are supposed to develop quietly so they can hit the big show later. The problem is with the MLB team.

    • Brains

      The problem here isn’t Soler, who is merely young and needs some time to develop, natch. It’s our unhealthy reliance on the specter of youth to fix all of the problems of our Front Office, who are sabotaging the team. Let’s give the guy a couple years to grow and face the problems at hand. Everyone is unhealthily impatient.

      • roz

        Ooh, please tell me how a front office that has vaulted our farm system to the Top 5 in all of baseball is “sabotaging the team”?

        • On The Farm

          I think what he is referring to is fielding a MLB team that is so poor, that, they assure themselves a high pick to stock the aforementioned farm system.

        • Kyle

          It’s amazing how many Cubs fans seem to think that the farm system is “the team.”

          • SenorGato

            Sub creepy for amazing and you have my feelings. I enjoy looking at the minors and prospects as much as any other non-casual baseball fan but holy shyte the prospect worship the past couple seasons…*Spits*

            • On The Farm

              At least our minor league teams make the playoffs… Might as well be excited about something. The MLB roster isn’t really getting it done these days.

          • Brains

            This is right on and right on again. Our fans have become weirdos who misrecognize who’s on their own baseball team.

    • Kyle

      That’s a mighty nice knockout you just did on that strawman.

      • TJ

        Are you an attorney?

        • Kyle

          I am not. But Brett is, if you need one.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            *Was.

            • Kyle

              I can only imagine the sort of ceremonies you had to go through to leave that gang.

              • TJ

                What is it you do for a living? Your profession, whatever it is, seems to afford you a significant amount of free time.

                • Kyle

                  I’m a stay at home parent to a special-needs child. So yes, I have far too much free time.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Well, as a person who has a disability. I support what you’re doing, Kyle.

                    • On The Farm

                      Is it being a Cubs fan? Because we all have that one.

                      Maybe that was insensitive, so apologies in advance to anyone who takes it that way.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      No. And yeah kinda insensitive.

                  • Cerambam

                    Aaaaaand the score is:

                    Kyle 1
                    TJ 0

  • Oswego Chris

    The odds of Peterson not getting 7 points in that game would have been about 100 to 1…maybe greater

    • On The Farm

      Unless Josh Freeman is your QB, and the coaching staff is delusional. Let’s see a QB who has only been around for a few weeks, and the best RB in the league. Yeah lets have Freeman throw 50+ times on the road, that’s the game plan.

      • ssckelley

        ^ this, and the fact Freeman did not know the play book very well was a big difference. He should have had something to audible to when he looked over the line and seen 9 Giants defenders loading up the box to stop the run.

  • forlines

    I enjoy being a negative ass hat from time to time, but damn it if some of the regulars on here don’t put me to shame.

  • John

    21 years old and a body like that…the fact that the Cubs had to give him a 9 year deal to sign him should tell you what kind of demand there is for him! Have a beer and relax! He’s working hard is all I want to hear! Mix that with his gifts and he’ll be fine!

    • D-Rock

      Amen, John.

    • Brains

      THIS

      focus your attention on the majors and let the kids marinate for a while

  • FastBall

    This is hilarious. Re-calibrating oneself after several months off is always completed in 35 at bats. Come on everybody. Let’s just be a little bit realistic. If he plays AFL and Winter League Ball and still is having problems come ST we can beat this into the ground then.

  • Jon

    I love how someone(Kyle in this case) can actually be pragmatic about his concerns, clearly stating why be believes x & z, and the typical 3-4 kool aid drinkers here jump down this throat for being over negative.

    • On The Farm

      Considering this is the first time he has had 250 PAs in a season, and there was about two-three months between PA #236 and PA#237, I think it is too early to declare problems with a player. People beat the sample size horse all the time, yet we seem to ignore it for Soler because he has performed like we thought he would (or like the other Cubans).

      He wasn’t even that bad in the FSL he just wasn’t Javy Baez.

    • On The Farm

      Soler *hasn’t* performed like we thought he would.

    • mjhurdle

      “actually be pragmatic about his concerns, clearly stating why be believes x & z,”

      strange, i must have missed that part of his post. All i read was someone saying ‘maybe these are excuses, and maybe they aren’t’. Hardly a defined opinion.

      There was also mention of “scouts” saying he had problems with breaking balls, but reading the article shows that it was one scout that mentioned that he looked like he was ” trying to kill every pitch and showing vulnerability to good spin”.

      I don’t think anyone is advocating the ‘never question the players’ approach. I just think people want more substance from a critique.

      • Kyle

        Precisely how much substance do you want? A scout is concerned with his susceptibility to breaking balls, which has always been a concern for Soler since the day he signed. That’s enough to be worth noting.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “A scout is concerned with his susceptibility to breaking balls, which has always been a concern for Soler since the day he signed.”

          Just so we’re clear on something, in what sense has this “always been a concern” for Soler? In the sense that he was a 20-year-old Cuban defector facing Stateside pitching for the first time, and thus quality breaking stuff would be a concern for every play in that situation? Or are there some Soler-specific concerns?

          At any rate, I’d caution anyone not to put too much stock into the report of a single anonymous scout who has watched, at most, 25 at bats of a guy … when the problem he points to is the very problem his own coaches have said he has right now.

          • Kyle

            The first one. Well, really, it’s pretty much a universal concern for all hitting prospects, ever, but it’s an especially acute problem for guys like Soler, who are being chosen for their athletic abilities and raw power.

            If he didn’t have breaking ball concerns at his age, he’d be Mike Trout.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Then that’s fine, and I have no new concerns. He struggled with breaking stuff – according to one scout – in his first five games (five! games) after missing several months of action.

              That’s a total non-event. To the extent anyone insists it’s an event, his coaches say, yeah, he’s struggling with the breaking stuff right now because of the rust. That’s not usually like him, they say.

              What exactly are we debating here?

              • Kyle

                How easily we latch onto coach-offered excuses when our players struggle.

                Soler’s just rusty. Concepcion is just struggling to adjust to the U.S. Ian Stewart’s wrist is just bothering him. Castro just needs to go back to his old approach.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Should I point to some coach excuses that were legitimate? Perhaps you think Miguel Cabrera simply forgot how to hit after August?

                  • Kyle

                    You certainly may. I’m certainly not saying it’s impossible that Soler is just rusty. I’m simply saying I find that excuse to be “latched on to,” at the expense of other, equally plausible causes.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      And I say there’s no point in getting all atwitter in either direction over a five-game sample and one scout’s comment about said five-game sample.

                      If you want to talk about concerns about Soler’s ability to handle breaking stuff irrespective of this dust-up, that’s another story. I just don’t see any meat here whatsoever, particularly given the coaching staff comments.

                    • Kyle

                      And this is where we are disagreeing: You think the coach’s comments are worth more attention and weight. Personally, I find the scout’s comment much more compelling. He is at the very least impartial.

                • Spriggs

                  …and Josh Vitters (still young, injured, takes a while to adjust to new level, etc.) Hayden Simpson (mono, came back too soon, etc); and Brett Jackson (needs time to work on remodeled swing, etc.). There is an awful lot of that I must say.

                  • jt

                    Bogusevic, Sweeney, Valbuena and Wood are just someone else’s garbage.
                    Samardzija will never amount to anything but fringe middle relief pitcher.
                    Dempster should have retired after April of 2011
                    *
                    the hit or miss of an imperfect science.

        • mjhurdle

          To me, substance is something more than referencing “scouts”, which turns out to amount to a vague paraphrasing from one un-named source that could either be read as ‘he is trying to kill the ball and that is leaving him vulnerable to good breaking balls’ or as ‘he is trying to kill the ball and also he struggles with breaking balls.”
          Something like:
          “Although he could use some polish with the strike zone, his pitch recognition skills weren’t terrible. He kills fastballs. Breaking balls will cross him up sometimes, but note his very low strikeout rate for Peoria. Granted the sample is small, but a low whiff rate like that, combined with huge power, is a strong sabermetric marker.” – Sickels
          “Strengths: 7 raw power; easy bat speed; loud contact off the barrel to all fields; plays with strength and athleticism; solid approach at the plate; recognizes early; will work counts;” – Baseball Prospectus
          “The ball explodes off Soler’s bat, and his well above-average power can make any ballpark look small. He hit two balls onto Waveland Avenue while taking batting practice at Wrigley Field in September. He has feel for hitting too, as he uses a game plan, recognizes pitches well and can make two-strike adjustments.” – Baseball America

          Even Baseball Prospectus’s ‘weakness’ doesn’t mention breaking balls:
          “Weaknesses: Questions about the future utility of the hit tool based on a few mechanical hitches that could limit his ability to stay inside of quality stuff; defensive profile puts pressure on bat to achieve first-division value; unknown hurdles associated with assimilation process; small professional sample. Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player”

          • mjhurdle

            this is the kind of substance i like in a critique.
            We don’t have to act like Soler is Babe Ruth 2.0. He may very well never make it. Baseball Prospectus mentions some very valid concerns. But they back it up with something.

            • Andrew

              Sickels report specifically did mention that he gets crossed up on breaking balls though…

          • Kyle

            I suspect you are demanding a level of commitment to every single post that you would never demand from yourself or someone you agreed with.

            • mjhurdle

              i suspect you are making assumptions in order to avoid the facts.
              At no point am i saying that every single post needs to have hours of research behind it.
              However, if I wanted to accuse a community of eagerly latching onto excuses, i would certainly take a couple minutes to make sure that my point was as solid as i could reasonably make it, and maybe do a little PR work with my post so that my point would be taken and not be construed as simply a poor attempt to stir the pot.
              You did neither, and your response is “well, you probably do do it either”

              • mjhurdle

                *don’t do it

              • Kyle

                I resent the implication that it was a poor attempt.

                I thought the pot needed to be stirred. There were two equally valid (at worst) POVs on Soler’s struggles in that article, and one seemed to be getting the lion’s share of the focus. The one that was the most positive.

                • noisesquared

                  After just finishing another in a long line of ugly, ugly losing seasons, and now facing another potentially unremarkable off season, would you really expect fans to gravitate towards a negative evaluation of one of the organization’s prized prospects? Especially when a plausible explanation is sitting right next to the negative information? I personally don’t want/need anymore bad Cubs news for a while – if a coach says Soler’s rusty and it’s giving him problems with breaking balls, that’s good enough for me.

                • jt

                  The standards set by your posts is very high.
                  That is one of the two reasons I challenge you.
                  the other is the hope of learning something.

                • Eternal Pessimist

                  …which happens to be the one that is most reasonable.

  • Jim

    I think that Kris Bryant’s college experience and what he has already shown in the minor leagues and AFL should get him to Wrigley in 2014, barring any set backs. I am excited to see what he will accomplish in his career.

    • Edwin

      It’s nice that the Cubs actually have some bats in the sytem that could turn into impact bats at the MLB level. The Cubs have lacked really exciting hitters since D-Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano all left/got old.

  • cub2014

    We all need to give soler the benifit of the doubt.
    But what was talked about this weekend was “of the
    big 4 if we were lucky enough to get 1 all-star, 2
    average big leaguers and 1 bust, who would they be”
    A few picked Soler as the bust including myself.

  • Stevie B

    I like some “busts” ….

    Just sayin…

  • The Mayor

    The Cubs outbid the Dodgers for Puig and and wanted both. Only the stupid think they chose one over the other.

    • When the Music’s Over

      If you’re going to resort to calling people stupid, this comment is so obvious it is in itself stupid. Every team in every sport wants to roster just about every player they think can help them win games. Limited money (even the Dodgers) and the potential opportunity costs are what typically dictate decisions in the end.

      • Brains

        *Artificially limited money, in our case.

        • When the Music’s Over

          Careful, that kind of dissent-oriented talk will likely get you in trouble here.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Yeah, Brains never says anything oppositional, and he’s gotten in a lot of “trouble” when he has.

            • When the Music’s Over

              Brett, it’s pretty unfair to ignore the gang-tackle tendency of a number of readers against “unpopular” opinions, most of which happen to be less peachy in nature.

              If everyone on this website thought exactly the same, it would be a wholly uninteresting place to spend my time outside of your actual writeups. I like controversial opinions that aren’t simple trolling (yes, Brains did admit to that recently, though I think that was a bit tongue in cheek and Die Hard is over the top and confusing on purpose).

              People like Kyle get slammed regularly for taking what I would consider a more realistic/guarded approach towards the Cubs as a whole (eg, he doesn’t think the front office and the players are perfect and beyond reproach). Others may view his takes as pessimistic / controversial / purposely against the grain, but I think a lot of what he says is salient and absolutely needs to be considered if you want to take a look at the whole picture of each situation / topic.

              • Brains

                Yeah just for the record, my part-facetious approach aside, Kyle is by far the best poster at this board. He’s always so ultra realistic and well supported by data that he makes most of us look bad.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Tends to make some pretty damn convincing arguments, doesn’t he?

                  • On The Farm

                    That’s usually why I “hate” him.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      :)

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    And yet Kyle gets applauded by many who disagree with him, yet you two frequently get criticized. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how he operates, yes?

                    • Kyle

                      That’s an awfully tough standard to measure them against. It’s like how sure, Soler looks iffy when you compare him to what Baez and Bryant have done lately. But who doesn’t?

                    • Brains

                      frankly without the push and pull found here i would lose interest. most of the fun is the social experiment of seeing what garners a response and what doesn’t. the more constructive posts take more time put people to sleep, the more hyperbolic ones, that still retain a kernel of the argument, receive a backlash. better to be ignored or engaged on a blog? michigangoat understands this too. he loves attention.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      So, your a self-proclaimed troll?

                    • Brains

                      it depends the post, blues. if i see regurgitation of ideology, which i consider to be a kind of unconscious trolling, then yes. other times, i put a lot of thought into what i say, not that it’s always noticed since y’all love the fight. me too, so it’s all good.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I also enjoy discussions involving differing viewpoints – I’m having one with Kyle this morning, and it’s perfectly pleasant.

                For what it’s worth, I think Kyle is generally treated very well here, and it’s because – despite his frequently contrarian views – he knows how to present them in a reasonable, discussion-oriented way. The folks who get “gang-tackled,” as you call it (and I don’t like ganging up, either), tend to be folks who are simply over-the-top negative repeatedly, and offer no actual thought or insight beyond “grr, Ricketts bad! Theo stupid! Get playerz!”

                • Kyle

                  The only time I ever get gang-tackled is when I walk up to the gang and dare them to tackle me.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    That sounds about right. And does happen.

                  • TWC

                    But only after greasing yourself up first.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      That’s cheating.

                    • Kyle

                      No, it’s cool, I’m single now.

                  • Blublud

                    Oh. You too.

                    • ssckelley

                      Blu, you do make yourself an easy target.

                • ssckelley

                  This explains why you respond to Kyle more than anyone else on your blog.

                  I admit he can make debates fun, he got a charge out of me this morning.

              • On The Farm

                Whenever I get into a debate with Kyle, the majority of the time I feel defeated. Not that my opinion changes on a certain player or topic, but Kyle presents a pretty sound argument.You can try and stack the box against Kyle to gang tackle, but most of the time he is going to bust through and at least get to the secondary.

              • hansman

                “Brett, it’s pretty unfair to ignore the gang-tackle tendency of a number of readers against “unpopular” opinions, most of which happen to be less peachy in nature.”

                [img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-i0B2hZ1oB-k/UeQyLHk28iI/AAAAAAAAP1c/SExjTRjeGho/w426-h237/41806-Emma-Stone-are-you-crying-gif-71rm.gif[/img]

                Ok, so Emma Stone is quite easily my #3 woman in Hollywood.

                • On The Farm

                  Emma, stone cold fox

                  • hansman

                    Beautiful woman and incredibly sarcastic? Yes please.

                  • Blublud

                    Enough of these women with these long backs. Please google Vida Guerra, Jada Stevens or Meagan Good. That what a woman to dream about looks like.

                    • hansman

                      I first read that as “long blacks” and wasn’t sure where you were going with that.

                    • On The Farm

                      By the way Blu, have you been watching the Amazing race? Change your opinion on Kim DeJesus yet?

                • CubFan Paul

                  Worst choice for Gwen Stacy imo.

                  • On The Farm

                    This thread started with a post about signing both Puig and Soler, went to gang tackling Kyle, and is now on why an actress wasn’t a good choice for the female lead in a superhero movie. Just another day as a BN poster.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      I could go on for days about the decision to cast Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane.

                    • On The Farm

                      I could go on for days about Tobey McGuire in anything.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Yeah, tobey will forever be known as the fat spiderman to me. I’m glad the studio rebooted the franchise

            • Brains

              Just “keeping to the message” until it’s accepted as fact. I’ll shift focus soon enough. And I’m waiting patiently for multiple reasons to praise the FO, which I’ll do with pleasure because I love the Cubs.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Soler is the biggest unknown of the top prospects, to include Baez, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Johnson, Edwards, Vogelbach. He’s either going to be solid, or he’s going to be a bust. I don’t think there will be much in-between.

  • C. Steadman

    gah Rizzo is only having this 5k charity walk to deflect attention from his bad 2013 campaign

  • macpete22

    Had no idea McLeod and Hannemann are related (very distant)

  • Justin

    Regardless, of the reasons why I will be a little disappointed if Soler starts in High A next yr. In no way am I calling Soler a bust or anything like that, but it does seem like people make all kinds of excuses why he isn’t crushing the ball.

  • Norm

    It’s the AFL. Him sucking (or raking) is meaningless.
    Get healthy, see you next year.

  • cubmig

    whew…….a good read this thread. Thank you.

  • Cheese Chad

    I hear ya, Brett. I needed 7.5 from Cruz and got half that. (Luck)ily in my other league Andrew Luck got me 30 so I didn’t need any from Peterson. Is anyone else feeling decently optimistic that a high percentage of these cubs prospects will be pretty good. #can’tbeanother100years

  • AD

    Barry Larkin might be an interesting managerial candidate. Little experience, but I believe he managed the Brazil team in the classic. Great pedigree and latin ties as well. Unlikely, but interesting.

  • willis

    Rogers on 1000 right now pretty much going mostly negative on Soler from what he’s seen/heard and scouts’ opinions. But more importantly…

    He’s had to leave the team to work out something that has popped up with his residency here state side. So he’ll be gone for a few days at least and miss even more at bats. Lovely and really too bad because he needs those ABs.

    • C. Steadman

      just great…i think i’m less high on Soler than any of the big four…Bryant is my favorite

      • willis

        He could be back by the end of the week, but still missing any ABs is tough for him. I think in the end he’ll be ok, he has the tools. Just needs some polish, probably a lot of polish. But to your point, I do think out of the big four, he’s now 4/4 in terms of development/future. Still will be pretty good, but I expect the other three to be very good. Speaking of, Almora leading off today with Bryant 4th.

  • Aaron

    Soler is a project. At the time of his 9-year, $30 million signing, Soler was said to be a five-tool player with a big power bat, a strong arm and a hole in his swing. It could a great signing in a few years when he makes it to the majors and then produces. The right coaching and instruction for Soler is greatly needed. I hope he works out for the Cubs!

  • jt

    It has been a long time since Willy Mays arrived to MLB.
    He was about the last prospect who wasn’t a “project” (ok, Trout is pretty good).
    Soler had a freakin’ fractured leg. Playing with that fracture he attained an 0.800+ OPS.
    He may never get out of A+ ball. But at this time there is nothing to indicate he wont be anything but a household name in 3 or 4 years.

  • Aaron

    Soler’s strikeout rate is a concern of the Cubs. 18% in the minors earlier this year and now 25% in the AFL. It’s certainly a small sample, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Typically, K% rates go up as the level of competition improves.

  • Aaron

    Willy Mays had a MAJOR LEAGUE career k% of around 12%.

  • jt

    Carlos Beltran K’d 293 times in 1523 PA’s in the minors.
    Just a random success guy I picked
    The significance? Probably none.

  • Aaron

    Beltrán won the American League Rookie of the Year award, batting .293 with 22 home runs, 108 RBI and 27 stolen bases. This came four years after he was drafted by the Royals.

    So JT in your comparision…Soler should win the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015, which would phenomenal.

  • Diamond Don

    Soler or Puig?? Puig has an attitude problem. Glad we have Soler!

    • Jon

      Was it not Soler who chased an opposing player with a bat this year?

  • Die hard

    Soler makes Puig look like a choir boy

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