Jorge Soler made an immediate impact with the Chicago Cubs last year. In his first at-bat, the Chicago Cubs’ newest hot prospect launched a 423 foot home run off Matt Latos of the Cincinnati Reds. That would be the first impression of what would end up being an impressive start to his Major League experience. In Jorge Soler’s 94 plate appearances, he would post an impressive .292/.330/.573 slash line with five home runs and 20 runs batted in. It appears our right fielder of the future is here.
When I saw some of the games of this hyped rookie with the Cubs, I tried to think of who this new impact player could be like. First name I thought of was “The Hawk” Andre Dawson. Anyone who saw Dawson play in his prime with either the Expos or the Cubs, saw a special player. “The Hawk” played with so much life in the field he seemed like he was on a different level than most other players. The combination of speed and power was rare for a man of his size. Those same traits are in Soler as well.
Looking at the two physically, they are pretty similar. Soler stands at six-feet-four inches tall and weighs in at 225 pounds. In Dawson’s prime, he stood at six-foot-three inches and weighed in at 195 pounds. Dawson had more speed than the kid has shown so far. “The Hawk” early in his career was a threat on the base paths – stealing 314 bases in his 21 year career. Solar only stole 17 bags in his five-year minor league career. The speed factor may be the only part that isn’t yet comparable.
Right-fielders are known for having strong arms – Dawson had it, and Soler does as well. Dawson recorded 157 career assists and converted 30 double plays as an outfielder. Those stats helped Dawson win 8 Gold Gloves in his career. BaseballAmerica.com rated Solar as the best arm in the Southern League in 2012, and the Cubs’ organization’s best arm in 2014. Many runners knew not to run on the Cubs’ former MVP back in his day when he had the ball – I think that will be the same soon with the Cubs’ newest phenom. Will the accuracy be the same? We will soon see, but the tools are there for another special Cubs’ right fielder.
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At the plate – Dawson had the same kind of special raw power that the Cubs’ new dynamic player has shown. When they hit home runs, there is something extra behind the home runs. They have what players call “tape measure” homers. But they also have good line-drive power as well. This for this current Cubs team – will be a huge plus. Dawson had very good plate presence and didn’t strikeout very much – the young future-star had very good patience in the minors but showed a more aggressive plate approach when called up to Chicago. That will have to be cut down – but that also seems like a team problem with these young prospects.
I’m not saying our new prospect the Cubs have is going to be better,or make us forget about how great Andre Dawson was. That isn’t fair to anyone coming up. What I am saying is there are similar characteristics in this young player as the former All-Star. Soler will make his own name and his own mark in the game – I truly believe that. I do not see him fading away. The only thing that will stop this Cubs’ right-fielder is going to be his health. That was also what held Dawson back from being one of the best players of his era. While “The Hawk” was great and had a career that landed him in the Hall of Fame – he could have been that much better if not for his knee injuries. Soler has that potential as well if he can remain healthy.