The numbers Jorge Soler is putting up in Tennessee are fast moving out of the range of the ridiculous and into the lands tread only by Kris Bryant before him. He has not yet reached the one hundred plate appearances I use as a landmark to declare a sample size statistically significant, but at fifty eight he is over half way there.
His line through those fifty eight trips to the plate reads .412/.466/.882. That’s right, the Cubs outfield prospect has an ISO of .470. That’s the best in Double A this year for players with more than fifty plate appearances (Bryant’s .347 comes in fifth). His walk rate is floating around ten percent, his strikeout rate is in the low twenty percent range, and over half his hits have gone for extra bases. All of those are high quality numbers for a twenty two year old slugger in Double A for the first time.
Players who have been interrupted by injuries aren’t supposed to do this. They aren’t supposed to jump into Double A and hit like they are in the batting cages at the local mini-golf course. Even players who had quite a bit of professional experience overseas (like Soler) we don’t generally expect to make the game look this easy this fast.
I mean, this guy, so far, is out hitting Bryant. And given the length of the layoffs he has had, odds are good he is still shaking off some rust. It is possible that Soler could actually get better from here.
But this is the point when I rein in the excitement with talk of sample sizes. It is only sixteen games. The pitchers in the league may have not yet had a chance to find his weakness and exploit it. He is still being limited in how often he plays, with a pattern so far of two games starting, then one off the bench. As he demonstrates his hamstring issues are behind him and pitchers are able to get a more consistent look at him, these numbers could decline.
Then again, if those numbers decline by ten percent for the season his line will be ‘only’ .371/.419/.793. And, as I said, it is possible he could actually get better from here.
We are slightly over two weeks away from Soler’s plate appearances reaching the significance plateau, assuming he stays healthy. A lot can happen in two weeks, so the more irrational strains of exuberant excitement should probably remain contained.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa was enjoying their All-Star break.
Tennessee – The Smokies led early, but lost 6-4.
Daytona – The Daytona offense never broke through in this 5-1 win.
Kane County – Kane County rallied late but could not come all the way back. They lost 8-4.
Boise Hawks – Boise scored five times in the eighth to pull away for an 8-4 win.
Arizona – Arizona had the day off.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] Jeffrey Lorick (2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Zach Cates (2 IP, 1 H, 2 K) both pitched well in relief.
- [Tennessee] Jorge Soler did not start this game, but when he came to the plate as a pinch hitter in the 7th he still ripped an RBI single.
- [Tennessee] Charles Cutler and Jae-Hoon Ha both finished with 2 hits each.
- [Daytona] Billy McKinney doubled and finished 2 for 4. He had both the only extra base hit and the only multi-hit game for the Cubs.
- [Daytona] Kyle Schwarber (playing left field) was held hitless in this game, but he did walk twice.
- [Daytona] Tyler Bremer allowed 2 hits and 2 walks in 2.1 innings of relief. He struck out 3.
- [Kane County] Jacob Rogers, Cael Brockmeyer, David Bote, and Carlos Penalver all reached twice on a walk and a single. There were no extra base hits for the Cougars.
- [Kane County] Zak Hermans allowed just 2 hits in his 2 innings of one strikeout relief.
- [Boise] Every hitter in the Hawks lineup had at least one hit.
- [Boise] Mark Zagunis doubled and finished 1 for 3, but he also walked twice.
- [Boise] Rashad Crawford and Justin Marra each finished with 2 hits. Marra included a double and a walk in his night.
- [Boise] Trevor Clifton was not at his best (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 3 K), but Tommy Thorpe was. The lefty reliever struck out 2 in 2 innings during which he gave up nothing.
- Emilio Bonifacio played center field for the Smokies. He went hitless in four at bats and struck out once.
- With their win last night, the Hawks remain just one game behind Hillsboro for first place in the division. Boise plays nothing but home games until the end of the first half on July 21. Hillsboro is at home now, but heads to Eugene tomorrow for a weekend series.
- Kyle Hendricks was the only Cub to make it into the Triple A All Star Game last night. Over two innings of relief he struck out two, gave up two walks, and allowed no hits.
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