Yesterday, I wrote about the probable imminence of a Jorge Soler promotion to AAA, despite a relatively limited track record at AA. Then, after last night’s game, the Chicago Cubs announced that Soler would indeed be making the trip up to Iowa. Hot dog.
After yet another big night last night, Soler wrapped up his 22-game stint at AA with a .415/.494/.862 line. It’s short, but that’s a dude who probably needs to see more polished pitching. And, at AAA, he will.
That Iowa lineup is now something ridiculous, and I hope even more of you who are able take the trip out to Des Moines to see them. A playoff run could be on the docket, which would give Soler – assuming he stays healthy – a solid month and a half of AAA baseball. From there, I mentioned yesterday the possibility that Soler could be called up in September when rosters expand, given that he’ll need the at bats and that he’s already on the 40-man roster. Patrick Mooney reports that not only is that on the table, but two sources tell him Soler is “expected” to be a September call-up. Be still my beating heart.
That would put Soler, 22, squarely on the outfield radar for 2015, perhaps as early as Opening Day if he really shines. I wouldn’t call that likely – a cup in September, some adjustments thereafter in the offseason and early season in Iowa, and then a mid-season call-up seems more likely – but it’s possible.
(Query how the Cubs, in terms of organizational message, will describe Soler getting the call to the big team before Kris Bryant or Javier Baez (if he isn’t called up). We know that there’s a reasonable roster reason for it, but what about age/level/performance/all that stuff? Perhaps something about years of professional experience or culture acclimation.)
Taking Soler’s spot at AA Tennessee is none other than Albert Almora, who has really turned it on at High-A Daytona after a slow start. The Cubs say that slow start was tied, at least in part, to some approach changes they’ve been working on with Almora. Whether they are working or not, Almora has heated considerably, hitting .377/.395/.649 in July. On the year, he’s hitting .283/.306/.406.
Almora’s glove is considered near big-league ready as is, so there will be no issue in the transition there. His bat, however, will probably have to continue adjusting. If all goes well for Almora, 20, he could see time at AAA in mid-2015. From there, he could be in the big leagues as soon as early 2016.