Inconsistent effort, eh? Let’s look at that closely.
Soler went on the disabled list almost right away this year, rehabbed, came back, went back on the DL after a week, rehabbed again, and due to the lack of effort he put into that rehab and into preparing for his eventual return, he was only mediocre when he returned to Double A and posted fairly pedestrian numbers.
Actually, that didn’t happen.
He came back to Double A and posted ludicrous and ridiculous numbers, including a line of .415/.494/.862. Let me be extremely clear here: according to his critics, Soler was able to undergo a lengthy and somewhat unusual rehab in Arizona, play in a few games in the Rookie League, and return to Double A effectively stone cold only to produce amazing results despite showing “inconsistent effort”. So what do they expect when he is actually trying all the time? That he rescues homeless kittens in between at bats?
Anyone who honestly believes that Soler is not trying on the diamond, is not working at his game, is lazy, or has been inconsistent in his effort should instantly be rating Soler as the best prospect in baseball and one of the best in history due to the results he has produced despite that significant limitation. You cannot have it both ways. Either Soler has in fact absolutely worked his tail off to come back and perform as he has, or he is such a fantastically talented baseball player that he is able to post extreme levels of success despite an inconsistent effort. There is not much of a middle ground.
That said, I do think ranking Soler where MLB did (#54) could be fair for other reasons. His repeat hamstring issues are a concern, and while I happen to love his approach at the plate I can appreciate that others may not like what they see in that department. Plus, as a right fielder, his defensive value isn’t as high as some other players and that could push him down the list. I think #54 is low (as you will see when the new Top 40 hits), but it is defensible.
Using concerns over this alleged lack of effort is not defensible, however. That myth (based primarily on 2013 AFL scouting when the Cubs had explicitly told Soler to take it easy) needs to die, and it needs die now.
Scores From The Weekend
- What’s with the new format? This is a temporary thing while I am on vacation. When I return to my normal work schedule next week, the Daily will resume the usual format. For this week, though, the Daily will be shorter, lighter, and less complete.
- Javier Baez is on a tear right now. Three homers and a double over the weekend have pushed his July OPS to 1.008 and his season OPS to .811.
- “Inconsistent” Soler, if you’re wondering, has opened his Triple A campaign with four hits (including a homer and a double) and three walks while lofting an OPS of 1.053 through five games.
- Fellow promotee Albert Almora has struggled in his first four games in Tennessee. He has a single, a walk, and six strikeouts. These struggles are normal, predictable, and entirely meaningless from a prospect ranking perspective.
- Over the past week Addison Russell has almost as many home runs (five) as he does strikeouts (eight). He is only the fifth or sixth best power bat in the farm system. Every time I think of things like that I get more excited for the Cubs near future.
- Jacob Hannemann moved to Daytona to replace Almora, and so far he hasn’t missed a beat. Through four games he has a double and two steals and an OPS of .929.
- Embedded in those box scores are a lot more good stories and great lines, but unlike a normal Daily I will not be fishing all of them out (vacation!). Feel free to call out the ones that catch your eye in the comments. There are a lot of great nuggets there for the mining.