Quantcast

jorge soler cubsAll minor league numbers come with caveats. There is always an age factor to consider, or some injury problems, or maybe a player is repeating a level, or skipped a level, or is changing position, or just adopted some changes to his swing, or any of numerous other things. No matter what the numbers look like there is always a circumstantial lens through which we can look at those numbers. Sometimes that lens significantly adjusts how we view the numbers, and sometimes the impact is minimal.

And then we have Jorge Soler.  In his case, figuring out which lens to use is half the challenge.

The young outfielder had his season cut short by injury, but in the time he did spend on the field he put up some solid numbers. The nature of that injury, though, a lingering leg problem that he might have been playing through for part of his season, forces us to question the numbers he did put up. We already knew that Soler was good, but if he put up lines like this with a leg injury, just how good can he be when healthy?

That breakdown begins after this disclaimer. The goal here is not to re-rank the prospects (that comes next year) or to assess the strengths and weaknesses of farm as a whole (that also comes next year). The goal for this series is to take each prospect individually, study the progress made so far, and see what we can learn about the future for that player.

The upshot of the rest of this article is that watching Soler play baseball in 2014 stands to be a whole lot of fun.

Jorge Soler, OF
Born: February 25, 1992
Acquired: The Cubs signed Soler to a Major League contract in June of 2012. His six million dollar signing bonus was the largest in team history until the Cubs signed Kris Bryant.

Season Summary

This is a tough one. The short answer is that he amassed 236 plate appearances over 55 games with High A Daytona, and in that span he hit .281/.343/.467 with 11 home runs, a walk rate of 8.9%, and a strikeout rate of 16.1%. That all translates into a wOBA of .367 and a wRC+ of 128, which in turn equate to a pretty good, if injury shortened season. Even better, at 21 he was actually a touch young for the league.

The longer answer is a bit more complicated.  Looking at the splits, for example, we get a somewhat varied picture. If we record Soler’s OPS by month we see the following:
April – .776
May – .907
June – .602

April featured 75 plate appearances, and June featured just 45, but in May he made 118 trips to the plate. May is the only number we can look at with any sort of confidence, but the steep drop off in June would dovetail nicely with his season ending leg injury. In May his slash line read .301/.373/.534. That’s a marked increase over his season numbers, which makes sense given the injury effect on his season numbers.

Soler only had 58 trips to the plate against left handed pitching in 2013, but he pummeled those lefties to the tune of a 1.112 OPS. The sample size is small, but so far it certainly looks like he is not going to have much trouble with southpaws. That’s a good thing.

But there is one more split we should consider. Over his season Soler had 135 plate appearances at home and 103 on the road. His home line reads .244/.291/.390. His away line reads a remarkable .330/.408/.568. Very rarely do I see a Jekyll/Hyde road/home split of that magnitude in which the player does markedly better on the road. I don’t really have an explanation for that split, but I can’t just ignore it either. Neither ballpark nor scheduling factors would appear to explain that nearly .400 point gap in OPS, but there it is.

So where does that leave us?

The Leg Question

Knowing that he was playing with at least a partial injured leg that was affecting his game for at least part of his season, how do we read those numbers? Is his season OPS of .806 accurate, or should we put more weight in the May OPS of .907? Or do we decide his road OPS of .976 is the real Soler?

For me, the answer is none of the above.  At least, not entirely.  When the numbers can’t tell me enough of the story, I turn to the scouting reports. Fortunately for us, Soler’s status as a league Top 100 guy means that there are a lot of words written about him across the internet.

Jonathan Mayo rates Soler above Kris Bryant and calls out his plus bat speed, very good approach at the plate, and significant raw power. Baseball America lists Soler as the Cubs’ number five prospect, but refers to him in passing as a guy with 80 power. In the past (the 2013 Prospect Handbook specifically) Soler was noted as having as high as ceiling as anyone in the organization, Javier Baez included. Baseball Prospectus piles more praise on Soler’s abilities with the bat and, provided he can clean up his swing, projects a possible future as a middle of the order bat for the Cubs.

I don’t see anything in his 2013 numbers that make me question those reports. I only wish he had been healthy all year so we would have a better idea just effective he can be.

The Other Stuff

There are some in the media and fan worlds who love nothing more than to rip Soler on the basis of that incident with the bat last spring. I’m not in that camp. It was a mistake, and he paid for that mistake, but I’m not going to attack his character based on that one incident. It happened, but at this point it is a single data point. It takes more than one data point to make a trend.

There have also been efforts to brand Soler as a lazy player based on some other reports. This accusation pops up against various players from time to time and is usually unfounded. I don’t see much value in that thinking generally, and I don’t see anything to be concerned about in the case of Soler.

If there are any long term problems with Soler’s character or on-field effort that are going to sabotage his career, those problems will show up quite clearly as he progresses up the system. That will be the time to worry about such things. Until then, as with any prospect, I will simply monitor those aspects of his game and those facets of his development. To do anything more, particularly at this stage of his career, would simply be premature.

Prognosis

In a season in which we have reason to believe his numbers were somewhat depressed by injury, Soler still managed an ISO of .186, a low strikeout rate of 16.1%, and an OBP of .343. On the basis of just those three numbers we should be looking forward to his future. But when we pair those numbers with the high offensive praise piled on him by the scouts, it starts to look like 2014 could be the Summer of Soler.

If he is healthy in spring training I see little reason to send him back to Daytona for any reason other than to shake off some rust. He’s proven he can handle High A; I want to see how he responds to the much greater challenge of Double A.

In terms of his long term future, I suspect Soler has the highest floor of the the Cubs Big Four. His peripheral numbers are much healthier than those put up by Baez or Bryant, and he has all the tools be well above average defensively in right field. I think he is a relatively safe bet to not only make it to the majors, but to have a very nice career there.

His ceiling is right up there with the best in the organization as well. I would not be surprised at all to see Soler emerge as the best overall hitter of the Cubs Big Four before it is all said and done. There are no red flags on his stat sheet, and his road to the majors is about as straightforward as they come. Do not be surprised if Soler is the number two or three hitter in Chicago in the not too distant future.

I would not be at all surprised to see Soler in the majors in the second half of this season. Once he adjusts to Double A pitching and gets his game rounded back into form, the Cubs will have little reason to keep him in the minors. He may still need a little time in Iowa, particularly if concerns about his ability to handle hard, inside pitching manifest into a problem, but his presence on the 40 man roster ensures that there will be a minimum of logistical issues slowing him down. I don’t expect him to be patrolling right field before September, but if he does open in the season in Tennessee and plays well there, that timetable could accelerate a few weeks.

There is one downside to Soler having a successful 2014, though. We’re going to have to put up with a lot of headlines containing terrible puns based on his last name.  Given the upside of seeing him action for a full season, I think I can stomach some bad puns.

  • Edwin

    I think Soler had a nice season, but I’m hoping he’s able to break out a little more in AA.

  • bbmoney

    Thanks for the write-up Luke.

    Happy to see a more positive report on Soler. Seems like lots of folks are neutral to negative on his 2013 (injuries will do that I guess). While the injury was disappointing, it seemed like he played well in High-A given his lack of state-side professional experience and how little he’s played the past couple of years. Hopefully 2014 will prove to be a healthy one and we can see how he progresses in a full season, he’ll still only be 22 which seems easy to forget.

  • willis

    Out of all the prospects, I am most eager to see Soler healthy and, Lord willing, having a full 2014 campaign. He has the tools as mentioned, but we haven’t seen him 100% much at all. I can’t wait for that in the Spring.

    • JDB

      Completely agree with this…Baez is the big name and gonna get a lot of headlines potentially but Soler will be the important guy to keep track of. Im excited to see what this guy can do in a full season, got to watch him a little in Peoria while he was there but that was just a few games and early on in his US career…hope like hell he proves healthy in ST and can start in AA against tougher competition.

  • JCoffey89

    I like the Soler signing, but I was wondering something. I have read that some people think he has a high ceiling and all that, but I have also seen a number of articles where people don’t expect everyone in the “Big 4″ to make it. They call out Soler as the one who will probably fall short. Is this based on the attitude or laziness? Or is there some inherent flaw that I haven’t heard of?

    • C. Steadman

      not answering your question but kind of related…i think Almora has the best chance at having a long MLB career, but the potential with Baez, Bryant, and Soler is exciting…if i had to bet, i feel Bryant will have the best career out of all 4…i think he will be a superstar

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s based on the fact that the premise of the question requires you to pick one. It’s a really difficult choice.

      • FarmerTanColin

        I see I came too late to the party…yeah what Brett said lol.

      • Jay

        236 plate appearances really isn’t enough to tell you much of anything except that this guy can apparently hit even with a bum wheel. I look forward to seeing the results when he’s 100%.

    • FarmerTanColin

      It’s based on “what have you done for me lately”

      His injury last season is the only reason honestly. Good contact rates, 80 power, some speed. That’s people finding a reason instead of realizing what he is. Honestly out of the Big four I have Baez as the risk based on his approach but I think all of them will make it.

      • BWA

        My guess is they all make the bigs, but at least one of them will underperform and never turn into a starter quality player.

    • CubsFaninMS

      I’ve admittedly been lowest on Soler in terms of bust potential, but Luke presents a logical argument to the contrary. It adjusted my thinking somewhat. Hopefully Luke’s optimism is verified next year with a breakout season. Personally, I believe Almora has the least bust potential but I don’t expect him to be a superstar. I expect him to be an outfield Dustin Pedroia. He won’t be a superstar in any one category, but he will lead your time and not hurt you in any particular area as well as throwing up a crooked number here and there (doubles, hits). I believe Baez, honestly, is a relatively big shake of the dice. The ceiling of an infield Curtis Granderson and the floor of.. well.. a bevy of highly-touted busted prospects. With Bryant, I believe him to have the highest “superstar” potential and see him as having a better batter’s eye than Baez with a lower likelihood of being a bust. All that being said, I don’t believe any of us commenting on here are professional scouts.. and I certainly am not. It will be exciting to see how it all shakes out.

      • http://BN Sacko

        Pedroia batting 3rd on a championship team is a superstar. So I’ll take it.

      • JDB

        Pedroia was a MVP…I get what you’re saying but probly not the best person to compare him to. I think Ellsbury without the speed is a better comparison for him. All the scouting reports praise his defense and intelligence, some even saying he’s ready now as a defender but needs some time at the plate still. I think Almora will be the better hitter but Andrelton Simmons could be an OK guy to compare him to as far as the defense goes as well.

        • http://BN Sacko

          Frankly any kind of the Cubs MiL write ups I get very excited about as to this point thats all we have to talk about really. Hoping they get Shark signed and Tanaka but doubt both due to not much else to talk about.

  • ruby2626

    Him reaching Wrigley this year with the limited at bats he has had over the last couple seasons is a major reach. My question is what is he doing in the Winter, is he playing somewhere and if so how is he doing. We know he showed signs in the Fall league but with that now over he just needs to keep playing.

    • FarmerTanColin

      I bet he’s working in Arizona to make sure that shin fracture will not come back from lack of rehab.

    • Rcleven

      Not much besides physical therapy. It takes a good six months to recover from a fracture. Some times longer. Spring training will be a good indication if he is a fast heal. Also should be a lot of rust to shake off.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      He played in the Arizona fall league and held his own there.

  • FarmerTanColin

    Soler has been the forgotten son lately. I think fans need to focus on what got him here and scouting reports. He was considered in line with Cespedes and Puig. He has an unnatural almost freak like ability to play baseball at least offensively. I really hope he has a healthy year, I remember his spring training last year and thought he should’ve made the team then. Also that K% if that stays real next year then I think he’s ready for sure.

  • hansman

    Just.Stay.Healthy

    That goes for you, too, Almora.

    • C. Steadman

      amen brother hansman

    • Justin

      To me I am more worried about Almora staying healthy than Soler. Almora has had like 50 nagging/serious injuries in his yr and half with the Cubs. Durability is the skill that could ruin Albert’s awesome floor. I sure as hell hope not though…

      • ETS

        None of Almora’s injuries are red flags, and he had far from 50 of them.

        • Justin

          Obviously 50 is an exaggertation, but I think he’s had quite a few of them for his short time on the team. Hopefully it was just bad luck, or he was still growing or something..

          • JDB

            The guy had a groin and wrist injury and still hit .330 for the season. Neither were considered to be serious but I’d like to see most people try to hit a baseball with any sort of success while coming back from groin and wrist injuries.

    • D.G.Lang

      I agree and hope they ALL stay healthy.

      I still remember the great tragedy of Ken Hubbs who was killed in a plane accident. We barely got to see him play at all and then suddenly he was gone.

      I was in high school at that time and I still remember it with great sadness.

  • hansman

    If he has legitimate 80 power, good freekin God. That gives us the potential to have Baez, Bryant and Soler in the middle of the lineup mashing 40 home runs a year each.

    In the universe where all 3 of them succeed in the bigs, that’d push Rizzo to the 6 spot in the lineup.

    • C. Steadman

      in that universe, add in Alcantara smashing 15-20, Rizzo 25, watch out NL rotations, the Cubs put the ball in the stands

      • C. Steadman

        25+ for Rizzo*

      • hansman

        Hell, we could find a world out there where the lineup in 2016 goes

        Almora – 20 HR
        Castro – 20 HR
        Baez – 40 HR
        Bryant – 40 HR
        Soler – 40 HR
        Vogelbach – 30 HR
        Rizzo – 30 HR
        Alcantara – 20 HR
        Castillo – 15 HR

        and Mark Prior with a couple Cy Youngs.

        Yes, the universe is that big where that could happen.

        • FarmerTanColin

          “and Mark Prior with a couple Cy Youngs.”

          Finally! I know I’ve left his poster up all these years for this. Actually true story my dad has a picture of Wrigley field and all the retired numbers with the pictures of players opaqued (is that a word) around the photo. So its got Banks, Santo, Maddux maybe, Jenkins, etc. Some reason they included Prior…I’m guessing he got this around 2003.

        • C. Steadman

          Mark prior with a couple Cy Youngs?? lets be realistic now :P

          • hansman

            The universe is, exceedingly big. Possibly even infinite.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              No, not infinite: in fact, it is still expanding! However, it’s more impressive than infinite: infinity just looks like a lot of nothing, after all…..

              • DocPeterWimsey

                (What we really need is a pocket universe: maybe Prior’s Cy Youngs are on Gallifrey….)

                • frank

                  Or Raxacoricofallapatorious . . .

              • hansman

                Probably not infinite, hell it could be that just a pocket of the universe is expanding as another part, possibly with different laws of physics, is shrinking.

                Depends on what multi-verse theory you ascribe to.

                Or this may all just be a computer simulation and we are 1′s and 0′s on a tiny hard drive somewhere.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Most of the justifications for the different theories of what holds the universe make my head spin. I have to admit, my usual reaction after talking to physicists is “damn, these guys are smarter than me!”

                  (Trust me, that is NOT modesty, either!)

        • Darth Ivy

          totally unrealistic.

          Alcantara (S, 20 HR)
          Almora/Castro (R, 20)
          Bryant (R, 40 HR)
          Rizzo (L, 30 HR)
          Baez (R, 40 HR)
          Soler (R, 40 HR)
          Vogelbach (DH, L, 30 HR)
          Castro/Almora (R, 20 HR)
          Castillo (R, whatever)

          • FarmerTanColin

            The HR levees are not holding.

            • Darth Ivy

              oops, I forgot the second zeros at the end of those numbers. Per season.

              • frank

                I thought it was per month . . .

                • Darth Ivy

                  I was thinking about making it per hour. But the math was getting tricky

        • Lance

          What lineup has vogelbach and rizzo in it? Vogelbach has 30 pinch hit homeruns?

          • bbmoney

            The one where the national league adopts the DH.

            • Darth Ivy

              that might be the first thing the next commish does

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Wait a minute there Vogellbach? Playing where?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Hopefully Rizzo hits well enough that his lefty bat can break up that string of right handed ones. It isn’t a big deal, but it would be nice.

    • itzscott

      >> That gives us the potential to have Baez, Bryant and Soler in the middle of the lineup mashing 40 home runs a year <<

      Thank God Almighty, Hallelujah!

      We just might have the 2nd coming of Williams-Santo-Banks in the middle of a Cub lineup again!!

      Lots of potential similarities between this lineup:

      Kessinger
      Beckert
      Williams
      Santo
      Banks
      Hickman
      Hundley
      Black Hole In CF
      Pitcher

      and this potential lineup:

      Alcantara
      Castro
      Soler
      Bryant
      Baez
      Rizzo
      Almora
      Castillo
      Pitcher

      How long I've waited!

      • Noah_I

        If the prospects reach close to their potential, Castro shouldn’t be batting 2nd in that lineup. It’ll be interesting to see if Alcantara can maintain the OBP in the Majors to be a leadoff hitter. My preference, if all of them reach the Majors as everyday players, is you’d end up with something more like:

        Almora
        Baez
        Rizzo
        Bryant
        Soler
        Castro
        Alcantara
        Castillo

        I don’t know if Renteria would be willing to bat someone like Baez second, although all the metrics say it’s the spot for your best hitter. I put Bryant 4th because I think he has slightly more power than Baez.

        • hansman

          Eh, if we are projecting a rosy scenario he has a .350-.360 OBP which would make him a good 2nd hitter and a viable leadoff option for most teams.

  • Jake Mac

    Interesting to see Luke say “I suspect Soler has the highest floor of the the Cubs Big Four”. I would have imagined that would have been Almora based on defense, position and his (projected) high BA/OBP.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Soler has performed at a higher level of competition than Almora. That counts.

      In terms of their peripheral numbers, there are a lot of similarities between the two.

      As for pure outfield defense, though, Almora is without question the best in the system (although Jae-Hoon Ha could challenge him).

      • FarmerTanColin

        Trey Martin would like a word.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          He’s not in that category yet. He’s close, but he’s not there yet.

      • Edwin

        I thought I had read that one of the scouting guys (Law, Parks, or someone like that, I can’t remember who exactly) had said that Almora didn’t have great speed, and had to rely on getting good jumps on the ball. Whoever it was was worried that Almora might need to move to RF due to not having the range for CF.

        Have you heard anything in relation to Almora’s speed/range in CF? I know I’ve heard he gets good jumps, but I haven’t heard much one way or the other about his speed.

        • Kygavin

          Law said Almora doesnt have speed in his chat from yesterday when asked if he was a 5-tool player

          • bbmoney

            Yeah from what I’ve heard his speed is exceedingly average.

            Possibly below average in the CF universe, but you can make up for that if you get good jumps and take proper routes.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          This is correct. He doesn’t have blazing speed and he does rely on getting good jumps, reading the ball accurately, and taking good angles.

          And, fortunately, he gets great jumps, reads the ball very well, and takes very good good angles on a consistent basis. What he lacks in speed he makes up for in literally every other category so that despite his speed, not because of it, he still projects as an elite defender.

          • Internet Random

            And has a better chance of remaining so after his 30th birthday.

          • Coop

            Similar to Jim Edmonds – he was not the fastest guy, but he was a natural in CF.

          • http://bleachernation arcola

            Jim Edmonds lack of speed hindered him in center field too. Right?

    • jkppkj

      ^^^
      Agreed

  • abe

    Looking forward to the day that Rizzo is batting sixth and hitting 25-30 hr. We could have the deepest lineup in baseball.

  • JM

    Can someone help me here… I thought I remember reading that Soler started playing later in life. If true, where would that put him in terms of grading his future?

  • Nick

    Soler Power!!!!

    • NLIADad

      Sept 2014 – Chicago expecting to see Soler Eclipse
      or
      Sept 2014 – Get your tickets for the Soler Express

      • Darth Ivy

        His homers, specifically, should be call Coronal Mass Ejections

        • ETS

          As long as he isn’t known as mass “ejection” for other reasons.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Charlie Finely would have offered Jorge a raise to change his name to Zeus or Rah.

  • Isaac

    Excellent write-up. Thank you, Luke.

    Can you please explain your reasoning by stating “there are no red flags on (Soler’s) stat sheet? I feel you did an excellent job disproving that very statement by pointing out his strange home/road splits and his questionable April/June (though possibly injury related in June).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The strange home/road split is just that – strange. It isn’t a traditional warning sign. Because it is unusual I can’t really call it a red flag. It doesn’t indicate any issue that could jeopardize his development, at least not any I’m aware of. It’s just…. weird.

      Low April stats are not a problem – players often take time to adjust to a new league, and he did effectively jump straight into a league with very tough pitching. The low stats in June are almost certainly an injury results. Right now I have no reason to think those are connected to a long term issue.

      • WGNstatic

        I wonder with the home/road numbers, did he go through a particularly rough slump during a particular home stand or a hot streak on a road trip?

        With so few games that we are really looking at, a single good trip or horrid week at home could really skew the numbers, particularly if the injury is related to that.

      • Ben

        As I was reading about the home / road splits, first thing that came to mind was all the rain outs that occur in Daytona. Playing 4 innings and then being rained out the next two days can make it hard to get in a groove.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Rain outs are more of a factor later in the season, not so much early. And they are a factor more or less league wide. I doubt that played a role.

      • Isaac

        Fair enough, thanks Luke.

        I regularly find myself more down on Soler than the other prospects, but this definitely piqued my excitement again.

    • JDB

      Obviously I have no idea the reason for the splits but the first thing that came to mind when reading the article was that maybe he’s pressing a little too much at home. On the road he may not feel the pressure to overwhelm the crowd and feels more relaxed. Could be something or it could be nothing, just my spitball opinion.

  • Kygavin

    Dont want to dampen the mood but Jason Parks was asked a question regarding Soler and Alcantara. Here is his answer:

    “Soler has a higher ceiling, but less feel for the game and less ability to make adjustments. He’s a higher rated prospect because of the enormous raw power, which could end up manifesting itself as 30 bombs at the major league level, something you will never bring to the table. But you have a good chance of being the better major league player, despite not being the better minor league prospect. I know that’s a ridiculous statement, but I believe it to be true. You could be Jose Reyes-light, and Soler could end up a AAAA type.”

    Link to the whole chat: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1103

    • Kygavin

      And I’m as bi of a Soler fan as there is I just think there are negatives to his game that scouts have picked up on (albeit in a small sample)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I wouldn’t disagree with anything in that paragraph.

      Here’s the thing, though. You can replace “Soler” with a bunch of other names and the paragraph reads just as true. At the end of the day, all Parks is really saying here is that all prospects come with risks. That is a very true statement.

      Referring to Alcantara as a potential Jose Reyes-light is interesting. I’ll have to ponder that one. I’m not entirely sure I buy into that comp.

      • Kygavin

        RE: Alcantara. I thought the same thing. I thought that was a stretch as well. I love Alcantara and think he will be the big league 2B sooner rather than later but that seemed a little much for me.

        RE: Soler. I think that risk is sometimes forgotten with the Big 4/5. That may just be Cubs fans insane optimism but it seems like for every one comment mentioning the risk there are 10 talking about how much of a sure thing they are. (Also Soler over Bryant is crazy)

  • ETS

    “His peripheral numbers are much healthier than those put up by Baez or Bryant, and he has all the tools be well above average defensively in right field.”

    This.

  • Justin

    Luke, why won’t anyone on the Cubs say how long Soler had that injury. There was talk that it took place all the way back in spring training… I guess I don’t see the big deal on confirming when it happened from them, and an injury like that I would think that he would know exactly when it happened.

    • bbmoney

      Wasn’t it a stress fracture? That’s not something that you always just know when it happened. I think its hard sometimes to distinguish between pain and injury with those kinds of things.

      • Justin

        Ok, fair enough. That makes more sense.

  • WGNstatic

    I can’t remember if there has been any discussion of this article over at fan graphs ( link ) it is an interesting analysis of how aging/performance curves appear to be changing. To me the most interesting piece is that players do not really seem to be getting all that much better between their debut and their “peak” in their later 20s.

    How does this change our thinking about the Cubs? Is it further cause for concern related to guys like Castro and Rizzo? Does it suggest that the Cubs could actually be pretty darn good quite soon as the big four start hitting the big leagues as early as this summer?

    • Edwin

      I know Brett mentioned it at some point, but I can’t find exactly where. It’s an interesting article, but at this point there’s probably not enough conclusive evidence to differentiate between how much of this is players no longer improving, and just a general league wide decrease in offense due to better pitching/defensive positioning.

      I do think it’s something to keep in mind though, when looking at a player like Castro or Rizzo. There is no gaurantee that just because a player is young, that that player will get better.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I’m somewhat dubious on Soler. Suffice to say, 2014 is a big season for him. I want to see the right attitude, the work ethic, the keeping his nose clean of controversy, the production. Hopefully he is going through a maturation process as a person and a ballplayer. I worry about him becoming a potential cancer type who is moody, sullen, weird. I want to be very wrong about that. Also, he needs to get minor league at bats under his belt and work on his overall game.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      As attitude, ethic, etc., are all invisible (and, at best, loosely correlated with performance), you won’t see anything one way or the other. Remember, you only see the game: and all of those things are before the game.

  • Blackhawks1963

    My personal viewpoint of Alcantara, Almora, Baez, Bryant, Soler…

    Alcantara eventually becomes a quality everyday 2nd baseman in this league and demonstrates top of the batting order ability

    Almora winds up having the longest and most productive big league career of all the big 5

    Baez ends up being a classical boom or bust player at this level

    Bryant ends up being a reliable Troy Glaus clone and a mainstay for a long time

    Soler ends up busting out

    ====

    That’s still an aggressively positive analysis of the top 5 in whole. History tells us that most big positional prospects end up breaking your hearts.

    So in the end, I’m honesly most excited about Almora, Alcantara and Bryant. That doesn’t mean Baez and Soler don’t become special players, it’s just if I had to bet right now.

  • http://igs.k12.wi.us/ matthew
  • GoCubs

    I think Jorge Solar is going to be a MLB All Star for many years once he establishes at ML.

  • SenorGato

    Less high on him than the other 3, but love the tools and power potential.

  • pfk

    Get ready for the Chicago Cubs and the “Soler System”….and all players rotate around the Sun…aka Jorge.

  • E

    Soler you saying that he’s a sure bet to be an MLB star?

    :D

    • pfk

      As sure as as the Sun rises in the East and as long as his teammates play with Solerderity.

  • KC Cubs Fan

    I saw Solar play in the AZ Fall League this winter and in Daytona early this year. The guy is massive – tall, strong, and fast. I can’t believe the guy is 22. The biggest concern that I have with Solar, and Baez for that matter, is the hacking nature that both have. You could definitely see a difference in approach between Solar and Bryant.

    It sounds like Solar has all of the ability in the world, but none of our prospect’s futures are guaranteed. Just look at Olt from 2012 to 2013. Or Jackson and Vitters for the Cubs. What is great about the Cubs current system is the depth of position players in the system. If we get half to live up to their potential and stay healthy, we will compete.

  • Jon

    Soler chased an opposing player with a baseball bat. What would he have done if he caught him? Beat him to death.

    Poo Poo the incident all you want, but it’s not something emotionally stable people do.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s not what happened.

      • hansman

        Ya, Soler beat a bag full of kittens with a mace while hundreds of horrified grandmas looked on.

        Afterwards, he stole all of their AARP cards and wouldn’t let them go until after the early bird specials at Cracker Barrel.

        • Edwin

          Those kittens had it coming though.

        • DarthHater

          And it all was captured on film!

          [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5527/11470330863_1da0c5859c_n.jpg[/img]

    • mjhurdle

      Actually, he didn’t charge any player.
      “Soler was caught by Cubs teammates before he made it to the opposing dugout and never swung the bat, according to the News Journal.”

      Every report I have read about the incident refers to Soler holding a bat and approaching the opposing team’s dugout. He was yelling, but never swung, lifted, or threatened anyone with the bat.

      So while what he did was not right, and is a mark against him, i don’t think we need to make stuff up like ‘chasing opposing players with a bat’ just to try to make a point.

      • Jon

        ok, so he was caught before he could do any more damage. It’s still doesn’t make his behavior any less outlandish.

        • mjhurdle

          “ok, so he was caught before he could do any more damage.”

          well, technically he did no damage. So once again, making things up like “caught before doing more damage” is not needed.

          Of course that incident was outlandish. But I agree with Luke that we need more than one incident before we can judge him as a head-case.

          He may end up as the next Milton Bradley, or he may never have another incident. I think it is only fair to give the benefit of the doubt to any player (not just Soler because he is a Cub) if it is only one action.
          If Soler repeats this type of thing, then we can label him as a head-case.

        • Rebuilding

          So what’s your point, Jon? Should we release him or give up on his ability to hit a fastball? Everyone said what he did was wrong and by all accounts he was contrite about it. Frankly I don’t know how it impacts his standing as a prospect unless it becomes a repeated behavior.

          • Jon

            I never suggested that. You don’t trade him/cut him because of it, I’m just not making excuses though for a guy that went f** psycho big time on the field.

            • Rebuilding

              Who’s making excuses for the behavior? Everyone says it was wrong. Moving forward and evaluating him as a prospect you have to look at whether its a bigger issue. People are giving you reasons why it’s hopefully not

      • Pat

        He went back to the dugout, grabbed a bat, and sprinted at the other teams dugout. Kind of hard to justify that.

        http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/9158972/chicago-cubs-prospect-jorge-soler-tossed-bat-wielding-incident

        • mjhurdle

          who is trying to justify it?

    • greenroom

      Jon, why is it that every time Soler is mentioned this is your response? He is young and like most people has emotions. I am not excusing what happened, but you continually bring this up as a fact. People make mistakes. He showed remorse and admitted he shouldn’t of acted this way. Forgiveness is a good thing, you should try it sometime. Or are you Jesus and have never done anything you have regretted or did wrong.

      • Jon

        I only brought it up because the author suggested we shouldn’t question Soler’s character because of this.

        Look I don’t know Soler, but I do know he went Sean Penn because of a silly incident.

        Did he ever make a public apology regarding this?

        • C. Steadman

          “If there are any long term problems with Soler’s character or on-field effort that are going to sabotage his career, those problems will show up quite clearly as he progresses up the system. That will be the time to worry about such things.”

          thats what the author suggested…

          • Jon

            It really is no shock why we have such a violent society, as we are so willing to accept it as commonplace. “He’s young” “He never did this before” “His emotions got the best of him”.

            • Rebuilding

              So what do you want the Cubs to do about it?

            • C. Steadman

              Soler’s incident isn’t a microcosm of our violent society…

            • hansman

              Society has been violent ever since there has been society.

            • greenroom

              So now you are saying it’s no wonder we have a violent society? I don’t think Luke or anyone else accepts this. Society needs to have more forgiveness for people who make A mistake.

            • bbmoney

              Your inability to tell the difference between people saying “it’s a big deal but let’s not say he’s a total head case just yet” and you thinking people are saying i”ts being commonplace and no big deal” is fascinating to me.

              Haven’t seen anyone yet say it was commonplace.

              • Darth Ivy

                You highlight something I mentioned yesterday or the day before. Straw man arguments. Jon arguing against a point that no one is making. He’s mischaracterizing peoples’ points just to have wiggle room for his own point.

            • cubsfan08

              Judging someone on a solitary act is completely unfair…

              Get a DUI = alcoholic
              watch a porno = sex addict
              get in a fight = maniac with anger management issues
              watch “keeping up with the kardashians” = moron

              All of those outside of the last one are completely unfair judgements to pass onto someone. Its not making excuses, its more along the lines of realizing people aren’t perfect. He grabbed a bat and charged at the dugout. If he really was psychotic, nobody would have been able to stop him. He would have hit everything and everyone with the weapon he was carrying. Hopefully he learned from the situation and everyone can move on. If not – then yes – he has a problem.

              • Darth Ivy

                haha, I love your last example of unfair judgements

        • greenroom

          No this is the only time you have brought it up. I have a pretty good memory and every time Soler has been mentioned on BN you say the same thing. He is a young man who made a mistake. So you are saying if he would of had a press conference to apologize, you would feel better about him? A one time incident or data point as Luke suggested, is not a pattern. Again, I’m sure you have never made a mistake in your life.

          • greenroom

            *No this is NOT the only time. Damn phone

          • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

            Public apologies make everything ok. See: Ryan Braun.

            • greenroom

              ^This is hilarious

  • Fastball

    Start him out a AA and do a reset. Last year didn’t happen good or bad. Let’s see how he doesn in ST and go from there. I don’t think anyone can accurately analyze anything from last year. He is extremely talented and I think he will kill it at AA and we will have them same conversations we have about Baez. Trying to over analyze information that doesn’t bring any conclusions is a waste of time. If his leg is back to normal you just let him play some baseball. This will all shake itself out by early summer.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Soler ceiling. A Frank Thomas in the OF.

    • SenorGato

      Stuff like this is why talking about ceiling is overrated. There are a whole lot of guys who had bigger tools than performance.

      • http://BN Sacko

        Ok then talk about the ceilings on the stuff we’ve picked up so far.

    • Jon

      That’s ridiculous.

      • C. Steadman

        “Soler’s power and presence is reminiscent of Frank Thomas”

        its not THAT ridiculous…

        http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post?id=6111&src=mobile

        • SenorGato

          Its pretty ridiculous. One of the great RH bitters in history vs a 21 year old with a low. 800s OPS in High A.

          • DarthHater

            At age 21, Frank Thomas had a .785 OPS at Class-A Sarasota. :-P

          • C. Steadman

            well I’ll side with the former general manager Jim Bowden on this one…ceiling also means best case scenario…for what its worth…Frank Thomas had a sub 800 OPS in single A as a 21 yr old…noone is saying Jorge Soler will BE Frank Thomas…but there could be some comparisons

            • Edwin

              I don’t think that’s what Bowden meant, though. Thomas was big guy that hit for a lot of power. Soler is a big guy who can hit for a lot of power. I don’t think it means Bowden thinks Soler can be Frank Thomas in the OF.

              • C. Steadman

                i agree, thats not what Bowden was saying…i was just giving an example where Soler and Frank Thomas have been compared by a former MLB FO guy…whether it was a serious comparison or not

        • Edwin

          Reminiscent of Frank Thomas doesn’t really mean ceiling of Frank Thomas. It’s a popular way to build excitement by comparing a minor league prospect to an established big league star, but I don’t think it’s actually meant to be taken seriously, like a real scouting comp. Especially because in the next breath Bowden mentions that all three (Soler, Baez, Lake) have hit tool issues.

          Frank Thomas is one of the greatest hitters ever. I think it’s pretty ridiculous to compare someone in A+ to him.

          • C. Steadman

            i know it isnt the same as ceiling…i was just defending Sacko after Jon just threw a “that’s ridiculous” comment and totally undermining Sacko’s comments without providing any quality analysis…I dont believe Soler’s ceiling is The Big Hurt or else i cant wait to drink a Solerlager after Jorge retires and moves on to the beer industry

            • Jon

              Comparing a player like Soler( with minimal minor league experience and career in Cuba that is pragmatically unknown) to not only a future HOF but one the greatest hitters of all time is ridiculous. That’s all that needs to be said.

              • C. Steadman

                claiming that we are accepting Soler’s bat incident as a mistake due to his youth and immaturity to “why we have such a violent society, as we are so willing to accept it as commonplace” is way more ridiculous….soler has 30+ HR potential and has a big presence(6-4 and north of 215) at the plate…wow guess who that can be compared to…the big hurt…less it was a lazy comparison bc they didnt even play the same position, but i gave an example to where it has been used before

                • C. Steadman

                  “less” should be “yes”

            • Edwin

              I see. I’d think a Soriano or a Jay Bruce would be a decent ceiling. Or something like a 2010 Nelson Cruz.

              • C. Steadman

                those are very good comparisions, Soler would provide better defense

        • Jon

          I guess if you have a extremely liberal definition of reminiscent it isn’t that ridiculous.

          • DarthHater

            Depends what your definition of “is” is.

          • C. Steadman

            that would be a former GM’s words

            • Edwin

              Former GM Jim Bowden is probably being fairly liberal with that comp, then.

          • Jon

            The reality is Frank Thomas didn’t have much of a minor league sample size and neither does Soler at this point. So to say Soler’s power is reminiscent of Frank Thomas is

            1) Ludicrous
            2) Lazy

            Because you don’t have a proper point in Thomas’s career to compare Soler to, you are judging him by a future HOF’s professional career.

            • DarthHater

              “The reality is Jorge Soler doesn’t have much of a bat-wielding outburst sample size, so to suggest that he’s not emotionally stable is

              1) Ludicrous
              2) Lazy”

              FTFY

  • bbmoney

    Unrelated but Youkilis going to japan to play with Rakuten per MLBTR.

  • You got bats, we got wood. Travis Wood

    AWESOME article Luke. I remember watching some of the bombs he hit in Boise, he’s got G.Stanton-esque power in my opinion. Maybe Baez could out-homer him on a yearly basis, but Soler could drive a homer into Lake Michigan if he wanted to. Heck, he could throw a pigskin over them mountains if he felt like it.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+