Understanding that the “effort” stuff is a mostly tongue-in-cheek barb at the various pundits and scouts who, for far too long, hung their hats on some kind of strange (inaccurate) knock on Jorge Soler that he didn’t give his all on the field, I think this is especially fun.
After ranking Soler the 54th best prospect in baseball – a ranking informed partly by scouting reports from the Fall (the ones about a lack of hustle), when Soler was recovering from a stress fracture and had been told by the Cubs to take it easy – MLB.com has now acknowledged that Soler was the best positional prospect in all of baseball in July. On the month, Soler hit an absurd .378/.473/.811 between three levels, culminating in his promotion to AAA Iowa.
Although it’s partly because Cubs fans are ridiculous about the organization’s prospects, a number of us have remarked that the prospecting folks who knocked Soler too far over the past year could wind up looking bad, given how well he’s played whenever he’s been on the field. And, given that he put up that absurd line there immediately after coming back from his third hamstring injury on the year, I think there’s a good chance we’ll be right on Soler – and I think he’s also put to bed any questions about his level of commitment/effort/whatever. Worried about the health stuff? OK. I’ll grant anyone who leans on that out of a conservative approach. But it’s pretty hard to argue that, if you aren’t worried about chronic health issues, Soler’s upside isn’t right up there with any bat in the minors. And yes, I mean any bat.
Javier Baez – and the dominating .300/.344/.655 July at AAA that bought him a promotion to the big leagues – was on the “honorable mention” list, and I think you could make a pretty strong argument for Kris Bryant there, too, given that he hit .300/.402/.590. And that was a slump for him!
(Seriously, man – wrap your head around this: the Chicago Cubs have three positional players at AAA that have a very good argument for having had the best July of any prospect in baseball. THREE. AT AAA.)
On the pitching side, the honor went to Rockies prospect Tyler Anderson, but Jen-Ho Tseng – ranked number 5 on Luke’s midseason Cubs top 40 – was in the “just missed” group after posting a 1.47 ERA over 30.2 innings.
Adding to the fun, Kris Bryant just took down MLB.com’s positional prospect of the week honors (with honorable mention going to Javier Baez). Bryant notched a hit in every game of the week, homered three times, walked four times, and put up a rather-Bryant-like .333/.484/.792 line.