Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jorge soler watching ball goThe canary in the coal mine for Jorge Soler’s return to the Chicago Cubs was whether he travelled to New Orleans with the Iowa Cubs yesterday. If he did, then a return to the Cubs before Monday was highly unlikely. If he did not, then he could be back any time.

Soler did not travel with the I-Cubs.

And, according to reports (, ESPN), Soler is indeed coming back to the Chicago Cubs today.

If so, Soler presumably slots right back into the starting lineup in right field. The Cubs could elect to send a reliever down to AAA Iowa and return to a more reasonable 12 pitchers, but I suspect they’ll instead send an outfielder – Matt Szczur or Mike Baxter – down.

It was a long month without Soler in the lineup. The Cubs got a negative WAR contribution from right field over the past 30 days, with Mike Baxter, the best of the bunch, posting a .307 wOBA and 92 wRC+ while playing there. Chris Denorfia was at .304 and 89, and Junior Lake was at .144 and -20.

On the year, Soler is hitting .265/.322/.402 with a .314 wOBA and a 96 wRC+. He’s been struggling mightily with swing and miss issues, and is striking out 32.2% of the time. Hopefully the time off gave him a mental break, and he’s ready to show some more of the zone discipline for which he was relatively famous in the minors.

(Also, hopefully he’s going to get a slightly more fair strike zone than he was getting previously.)

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