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jorge soler cubsJorge Soler has played in five games this season. He also has a five game hitting streak, and in every one of those games he has doubled. We are still waiting for his first Double A home run, but in the mean time we get to enjoy the fact that he is walking as often as he strikes outs.

Sample sizes are very small here, but it is good to see Soler get off to a good start. Because of his professional background in Cuba I have always suspected he would turn out to be a fairly polished hitter who may not need a great deal of work in the minors, and while the jury is still out on that front his start does lend some small support to that hope.

Naturally, the Cubs would love for Soler to be the sort of hitter who can move up the minors quickly and, just maybe, reach Wrigley in September. Given the currently anemic state of the Cubs outfield, I don’t think anyone would blame you for dreaming on a near future that includes Bryant in left, Alcantara in center, and Soler in right.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa -
Friday – This game was postponed by rain.
Saturday – Iowa was out hit eighteen to nine and lost this game 10-1.
Sunday – The Cubs needed three big innings, including a rally in the eighth, to pull off this 12-11 win.

Tennessee -
Friday – Tennessee rallied in the ninth, but fell short. They lost 6-4.
Saturday – A whopping eighteen hits carried Tennessee to a 10-6 win.
Sunday – At one point the Smokies trailed by six runs, but when this wild game ended it was Tennessee who had the 17-13 win.

Daytona -
Friday – They allowed just one bad inning, and that’s all it took. The Cubs lost 5-2.
Saturday – This score was the same as the score before. The Cubs lost 5-2.
Sunday – This was a scheduled day off.

Kane County -
Friday – Another late rally led to another Kane County win. The final was 5-2.
Saturday – The Cougars took this game into extras before winning 2-1.
Sunday – Sunday was a scheduled day off.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Lars Anderson finished Sunday 2 for 3 with 2 walks. Chris Valaika, playing left field, finished 3 for 4 with a walk and a strike out.
  • [Iowa] This is one of the questest stretches of Javier Baez‘s short career. After finishing the weekend with just a walk to his name, he remains without an extra base hit in the month of May.
  • [Iowa] Carlos Pimentel struck out 6 in his 4 innings of 3 hit relief on Sunday.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant finished the weekend with 5 more hits, his 10th home run, one walk, and 4 strikeouts. He has multiple hits in 4 of his last 5 games.
  • [Tennessee] John Andreoli had another typical weekend. He reached base in all 3 games and finished up with his 18th steal, 3 walks, 3 hits, and 3 strikeouts. His OBP is now .427, and it is trending upwards.
  • [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno must have gotten bored of all those doubles, so he varied thing up a bit by hitting 2 home runs on Saturday. He now has 3 homers on the season.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva‘s transformation continues. He finished the weekend with no walks, one strikeout, 3 doubles, a triple, and a remarkable 9 total hits.
  • [Daytona] Zack Godley made his Daytona debut on Friday, and the results were the same as in Kane County. Over 2 innings he allowed a walk and no hits while striking out 3.
  • [Daytona] After going 0 for 3 on Friday, Bijan Rademacher rebounded with a 2 for 4 game that included his 6th double.
  • [Kane County] Daniel Lockhart was late to arrive on my radar, but he has definitely captured my attention. After 2 more doubles this weekend his OPS is up to .619 after a very slow start. The eyecatcher, though, is that in 141 plate appearances he has 11 walks to just 7 strikeouts. That’s a 5% strikeout rate.
  • [Kane County] Will Remillard is still hitting. His 9th double came on Saturday and ticked his OPS up to .963.
  • [Kane County] Gerardo Concepcion pitched 2.1 innings of one hit ball on Friday, and struck out 5 in the process.
  • [Kane County] James Pugliese had a great game on Saturday. In 3 relief innings he allowed virtually nothing and struck out 7.

Other News

  • Zeke DeVoss is back in Daytona now, and was in left field for this weekend’s games.
  • Arodys Vizcaino allowed no hits in his inning of relief on Friday, and he was the only Tennessee pitcher to hoist a zero in that column. Jose Veras pitched 1.2 innings on Sunday and allowed a hit and two walks while striking out one.
  • jp3

    Has Alcantara had any experience in CF Luke? Just curious what his scouting report out there looked like. I’ve not lost hope yet on almora but he’s not impressed this year at all on the offensive front.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Alcantara will hit the majors long before Almora anyway. I’d like to keep Alcantara at second, but right now the Cubs need more help in the OF.

      He has not played there professionally, but the reports are that he has the arm and the speed for it. That doesn’t mean he can read balls in the air well enough to play a good center field, but he’s worth a shot.

      • jp3

        Thanks Luke, I was curious if he’d played in CF in any professional leagues or summer leagues to this point. I agree he looks athletic enough with his speed and arm but was curious how he reads the bat off the ball. Almora has been a bigger surprise to me tiis year than Baez, I knew he wouldn’t hit for much power but I didn’t see the low avg/OBP coming, very disappointing and unfortunately goes to show that all the “makeup” and “maturity” don’t mean a whole lot if you actually aren’t hitting.

        • Brocktoon

          I imagine he’ll head there in the winter league.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I don’t care how athletic Alcantara is I’d still like him to get at least half a season to a fully season of professional experience in the outfield before we call him up and throw him out there. We don’t want another Junior Lake learn as you go experience

        • jp3

          I’m not sure Lake has been a failure because of his d though… If he were to swing and miss at the ball with his glove as much as he does with his bat he would’ve been concussed out of the league by now….

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            never said Lake’s defense was his biggest problem, just to give you a heads up. His approach and swing and miss is still his biggest issue.

            • jp3

              I agree with Lake’s biggest problem being his swing and miss issue but saying he should be playing the OF in AAA so you don’t have another lake situation insinuates that you think his D would be in question. Whatever as we’re splitting hairs knowing Lake’s biggest problem. I’m ready for next year to roll around to hopefully get an influx of new talent.

        • CubChymyst

          I don’t think playing the outfield has been Lake’s main issue.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            Playing outfield definitely isn’t Lake’s biggest problem, but his field is still defense is still terrible no matter how much people like to tell how much he has improved over the offseason. Last seasons defense was pathetic and terrible and this season he’s improved to barely tolerable in my book. Don’t get me wrong he can still improve. Soriano did but it take reps

          • renegade4196

            I think everyone declaring Lake a failure needs to reassess his ability. Remind yourselves that he’s 24, in his first full season of the league.

            I too get frustrated with how much he strikes out, but Lake’s raw talent and ability is still very high. And if you criticize working out the kinks in the majors instead of sending him back down to AAA for no reason, look at what a full season struggling did to Rizzo and Castro last year. Both of them have become much more polished hitters.

            I still believe Lake is one of the most talented guys on the team, but people need to be more patient with him. The only people Cubs fans should lose their patience on is Vitters and Jackson at this point.

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              Lake is not a lost cause but I would be willing to bet he doesn’t reach the star potential he has with the god given tools that were given too him. Lake strikes me as 10 year journeyman veteran after a few years in this league. The guy has a world of very raw talent but so have many guys in this league who have came and went. You only believe in him so much because he is our player and was brought up in our system.

              If Lake was brought up in another system and on another team I doubt your confidence in him would be as high as it is now

            • Kyle

              I don’t think you really understand how uncommon it would be for someone to take a big leap in ability at the age of 24.

              Has it happened occasionally? Sure. But it’s by far the exception.

            • CubChymyst

              I think its to early to have lost patience with Vitters. Vitters is also only 24 and his AAA are not bad.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Wait… why should have patience with Lake but not Vitters?

              • renegade4196

                Vitters is struggling to hit the Mendoza line at AAA. Sure, he’s proven he can hit AAA pitching, but I tend to be more patient with Lake, seeing as he has a bigger skill set, and also has success against MLB hitting.

                And just because I have confidence in him, doesn’t mean that I think he’s the “man”. I mostly want him to do well to be a nice complement in a package for someone big. (Ideally a guy like Price or CarGo)

  • Javier Bryant

    Bryant, Alcantara, Soler OF is drool worthy

  • CubChymyst

    Soler had a great first half of the season last year. If he can pick up from where he left off and remain healthy for the rest of the season I think he would be ready for a call up to the majors some time next year.

  • Norm

    Soler will be a more productive MLB player than Baez.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Too early to judge but his approach is a hell of a lot better then Baez’s. I still think Baez will hit more homers but I’d take avg and OBP skills over a few more homers with any player

    • Darth Ivy

      Gotta love that kind of call

      Bryant MVP

  • OCCubFan

    Luke, what’s the story with Rafael Lopez? He has more BBs than Ks (22 to 14)–swoon. He has a high BA, high OBP and high OPS.

    • Jon

      The story is… he is 26 and in AA. Not a prospect.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Yeah… let’s completely write off guys based on broad strokes! Makes perfect sense!

        It’s not like catchers sometimes come along slower offensively than other positions because they have to do a lot more work in developing the defensive side of their game. Or that this is only Lopez’s fourth year as a professional. Nope… couldn’t be that.

        • Jon

          It’s not really a controversial opinion. Guys that old in AA, generally aren’t considered legit prospects.

          • gocatsgo2003

            I agree with you in most respects, but to simly say “he’s 26 and therefore not a prospect” without considering any other factors is quite a broad stroke.

            • Jon

              No painting with a broad stroke would be saying that because he’s 26, he has no chance to be a useful big league player.

              He’s not a legit prospect because of his age relative to his level in the minors. His rankings within the Cubs organization would indicate that. What value he fetch in a trade right now? I can’t imagine much, especially juxtaposed against a 21 year old putting up the same numbers in AA.

        • Kyle

          *eyeroll*

          Hysteria aside, roster-fill is a real thing and that’s what Lopez is.

          • renegade4196

            I agree with you here Kyle.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Yep Lopez is a MLb back-up at best. Which I’d still take that out him

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I still like him as a major league backup catcher candidate. He is no threat to replace Castillo, but I think he could potentially complement Castillo fairly well.

      • renegade4196

        I’d be willing to bet he’d be a better hitter than John Baker in the MLB.

        So yes, he’s quite okay as an MLB backup.

        • Spriggs

          Yes, he is probably a little more than just minor league roster filler. I think he is a serious back-up catcher candidate, especially since he hits left handed and does appear to have some welcome OBP skills. The biggest roadblock to overtake Baker could be that he isn’t as good of friends with Ricky and Jed.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I would leave all the kids down in the minors this season and don’t bring them up until july-ish next season. We are terrible no point in bring them up. Save their arbitration clock!!! They can still develop and learn how to hit a decent breaking ball at iowa!

  • roz

    I keep hearing stuff about Soler spending the entire season at AA, do we think that that is likely? I was dreaming about Baez, Bryant, and Soler in the same lineup at Iowa, but I’m not sure if that has a realistic shot of happening.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Soler needs to play consistently for an extended stretch. I don’t really see any reason to bump him from Double A.

      I suppose if he has too easy a time of it a trip to Triple A wouldn’t hurt anything.

      Regardless, I still expect him up in September.

      • Brocktoon

        I don’t see why anyone would expect Soler (or Bryant or Baez) up in September at the expense of a year of team control.

  • renegade4196

    Kris Bryant is absolutely tearing up the Southern League. He leads the league in the following stats: AVG, OPS, SLG, TB. HR, RBI, R.

    If that’s not enough, and if people still think he’s not “ready” for Iowa, then I don’t know what he needs to do. Even Baez didn’t dominate at this level. His K rate is still high, but I’m not as concerned about it as he’s more of a hitter for average, whereas Baez looks much more like a two outcome player.

    BTW: Tennessee leads most of the other stats in AA too; Stephen Bruno in 2B, Rafael Lopez in OBP, John Andreoli tied for the lead in SB.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Bryant is also 2nd in the league for strikeouts. The guys a stud but keep in mind he still has room to improve

      • renegade4196

        I think with the way this team is playing, that’s not a horrible thing. Bryant is the most polished hitter out of all our prospects, and as previously mentioned, a high K rate in the MLB doesn’t mean a bad player. Ryan Howard was 2nd in the league in Strikeouts in his MVP season, only trailing Adam Dunn. Because Bryant is definitely, at least as of right now, showing no signs of being Adam Dunn, if striking out is his main and only weakness, that isn’t a huge problem. The development of Baez and Almora should be much larger concerns.

        • Kyle

          The problem is that guys like Dunn didn’t strike out this much in AA.

          Guys who strike out a lot in the majors but productive? Don’t care about the strikeouts.

          Guys who strike out a lot in AA but productive? Sometimes, a lot of the times, those guys aren’t productive anymore when they reach the majors.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            Exactly. Still feel extremely positive about Bryant but for the ppl clamoring for his promotion need to realize that K rate is terrible and should be addressed before a promotion, IMO

          • renegade4196

            Howard struck out 166 times in 2004, when he spent time in AA and AAA before a late season call up.

            Dunn didn’t strike out as much but Dunn was also not in the minors for all that long.

            Plus overall, Howard>Dunn.

            It’s also worth noting that Bryant is a much higher rated prospect than both Howard and Dunn. His skill set is supposed to be near the top of the MLB. I have full confidence that Bryant is a quick adjuster, and that his K rate will not be detrimental once he reaches Wrigley.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Prospects are valued differently now than they were when Dunn and Howard came through. Comparing their rankings may not actually tells us much.

            • Kyle

              Howard is a much better comparison than Dunn. He is an example of a guy who survived extreme minor league K problems to succeed in the majors.

              But it’s an example of survivorship bias to just assume Bryant can do the same thing.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Right now I suspect the best comp for Bryant might be Stanton.

            Stanton struck out a lot on his first short pass through Double A (at a younger age), but in his second pass he adjusted and the K% came down.

            Nothing I’ve seen on Bryant yet makes me think he can’t make similar adjustments. I suspect that K% will come down. But I’d prefer to leave him in Double A until has come down for at least 150 PA or so.

            • renegade4196

              I think the Stanton comp is worthy. I think, as with Stanton, both have higher ceilings than what they are performing, but I think that’s a much more rational comparison.

              I’m still one to believe Bryant shouldn’t be at AA for too much longer though. I feel like the league is very unchallenged for Bryant, and that it may be better for a longer period of adjustment at AAA. If he gets up to AAA by the end of May (which by all means I think will happen), I think he can really adjust himself to be MLB ready by late July. Wishful thinking.

              He also walks a lot, which is a huge plus, and something that he has more of an advantage on over Baez and Almora.

              • Brocktoon

                If the league wasn’t any sort of challenge for Bryant, you’d think he could get his K% below 27%

            • Kyle

              As much as I love what Bryant’s doing, Stanton’s on a whole other level.

              Bryant at 22 in his amazing AA hot streak: 1 HR per 15.8 PAs
              Stanton at *20* in his amazing AA hot streak: 1 HR per 11.4 PAs

              The difference between Stanton and Bryant is the difference between true 80 talent and 70.

              • Kyle

                When Stanton was the same as as Bryant is today, he already had 56 major league home runs.

                • renegade4196

                  Stanton was also drafted at a much younger age, didn’t go to college, and therefore, moved through the minors quicker.

                  I really don’t think age would be an appropriate way to compare the two, considering Bryant was still in college when he was 20.

                  • Kyle

                    Age is *always* an appropriate comparison for prospects.

                    The fact that Stanton was succeeding as a pro while Bryant was in college is a reason why Bryant doesn’t project to be as good as Stanton. Players who succeed in the pros at younger ages tend to have better outcomes.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      “Players who succeed in the pros at younger ages tend to have better outcomes.”

                      It seems like the corollary to that would be that college draftees are less successful than high school draftees.

                      I’d be curious to see those numbers. What is the average career WAR for a first round college drafted hitter as opposed to a first round high school drafted hitter?

                    • Kyle

                      That’s not really the corollary.

                      But high school draftees and top IFAs who emerge will tend to be higher-rated prospects than college players. The high school players who succeed in the pros for three years will be higher-rated prospects than the top college players each year.

                      It’s not a coincidence that of the 33 position players to be drafted No. 1 overall, 19 were high-schoolers and a 20th was a HS-age junior college guy (Harper), compared with just 13 college players.

                    • Kyle

                      For another data point, Bryant, Springer, Heaney and Bradley are the only college position players in Baseball America’s top-50 this year.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      True, but the general thinking is that high school player have a higher bust rate than college guys.

                      If 5 HS guys finish with the following career WAR: 10,10,0,0,0

                      And 5 college guys finish with the following career WAR:
                      7,7,6,6,5

                      Then the average WAR is actually higher for the college draftee than the HS one.

                      And those numbers were entirely made up and served only illustrate a possible case. I’m not arguing that that is in fact the way it is.

                    • Kyle

                      Which is why I said ““Players who succeed in the pros at younger ages tend to have better outcomes.”

                      The “succeed in the pros” part is really important. That’s what separates the 10s from the 0s.

                      I’m really not sure why I have to defend “success at younger ages tends to be more indicative of future success than success at an older age” to you. You are better than this.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      I’m not attacking, I’m wondering, and particularly within the context of draft. I suspect you’re probably right, but it occurs to me that I’m not sure how right. What are the ratios? How big is the difference? Is it true that college hitters have a higher success rate but become lesser players? Or is this a case of perception bias? If it is true, at what rate?

                      I have not see or ran the numbers myself. Even though I agree with you, to me it is still valid to question the basis of that agreement and put some hard numbers to these trends. Asking questions shouldn’t stop at the reaching of consensus. Sometimes, probably not in this case, but sometimes the consensus is still wrong.

              • Jon

                IMO, the only way to solve this debate is to trade for Stanton which would allow us to compare the careers of Bryant and Stanton, while on the same team, for the next decade +

                How does that sound?

                • renegade4196

                  this ^

                  Theo and Jed wouldn’t do that though. Definitely too much logic involved in that one.

                  • waittilthisyear

                    yea, Theo and Jed wouldn’t trade for Stanton simply because they haven’t thought of that yet. Trading for Giancarlo Stanton is wayyyyy over their heads. Perhaps, though, and I could be way out in left field on this one, they have to consider how much value they are willing to give up, then the Marlin’s FO has to weigh that against other offers before considering if that is a deal they are willing to pull the trigger on? i dunno tho man, im just spitballing

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Agreed.

            • jp3

              I like the Stanton comp, especially because he jumped to Miami after the short 2nd stint at AAA

        • Brocktoon

          Adam Dunn hit .343 at AA.

          • Edwin

            Adam Dunn stole 19 bases in 2002. No relation to what this line is about, I just think that’s interesting.

  • CubsFaninMS

    I had not written Rubi Silva off, but had some major concerns about his K rate. It’s refreshing to see his approach change so much initially. I think he can be a successful Major League player if he make that a permanent adjustment. And Kris Bryant. What more do you say? This guy is special. That is obvious.

    • ssckelley

      Silva has made some nice adjustments, his K rate was 34% for the month of April. So far this month he has struck out only 4 times in 32 plate appearances with 5 walks. If he keeps that up he will be in Iowa soon.

      • Bilbo161

        I thought last year all he neede was a little bump in his BB%.

        I remember he had a couple months last year where he showed more patience and got maybe 6 walks but the other months were only 1 or 0 walks. He also seems to have gotten hot since Soler came back. I wonder if that motivated him. If some of Soler’s approach could just wear off on Silva that would make a huge improvement. Maybe push Silva closer to the top 10.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That 34% is much higher than his 2013 K%. If he had walked at a more normal rate last year, he’d have been almost as big a breakout story as Alcantara was.

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