Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Jorge Soler’s on the right track, just needs to stay healthy


JORGE SOLER. B-. 101 games, 96 H, 39 R, 18 2B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 32 BB, .262 avg. RF. Chicago Cubs

Long before the Chicago Cubs called up Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and even signed both Joe Maddon and Jon Lester, Theo Epstein unleashed multiple rookies who set the tone in 2014.

While former second baseman Darwin Barney was away from the organization, infielder Arismendy Alcantara received the call, becoming one of many prospects to make their big league debut under then skipper, Rick Renteria.

And as we all remember, Barney, Chicago’s former Gold Glove winner, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers later on that summer. Sad times considering how well Darwin was on defense, putting together multiple highlight plays with his glove throughout his time with the Cubs.

One day, we’ll reflect on that trade, but for now, let’s focus on the topic at hand; Jorge Soler.

Soler was called up by the Chicago Cubs late last August and clubbed his first career homer off veteran right-hander, Mat Latos just two days after his promotion. 

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In 24 games with the Cubs, the then 22-year-old Cuban-born right fielder hit five home runs, drove in 20, legged out eight doubles, drew six walks and struck out 24 times while slashing .292/.330/.573.

After the 2014 campaign wrapped, it was obvious that Chicago had found themselves their next everyday right fielder. But how would he perform during a full season?

Soler started off the fresh season 4-for-18 against the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies but jumped all over the Reds on Apr. 13 to begin a six-game home stand.

Jorge finished that game 3-for-5 in the batter’s box with two homers and four RBI and put together an eight-game hitting streak which came to an end just nine days later.

The month of May didn’t see much offensive production from him, but he did finish with a .288 average and collected 30 hits along the way. Then his season began to decline.

During Chicago’s road trip in Miami, Soler suffered an ankle injury which would sideline him for a little over a month. Over the course of that stretch, the Cubs went 16-14 with him out of the lineup.

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This would be one of his two stints on the disabled list as he found himself back on the shelf for another 24-days in late-August.

Despite ending the season on a rough note, most of the credit for the Cubs eliminating the Cardinals in the N.L.D.S. has to go to Jorge Soler. This man came out swinging and helped even things up when his club was on the ropes early on.

Following a pinch-hit walk in a losing effort in Game 1, Soler came through with a double, two-run bomb and an additional two walks in Game 2.

He reached base nine times in a row and added to his terrific postseason run with an outfield assist which prevented the Cardinals from taking the lead in the sixth inning.

Once Chicago jolted past the Cardinals to reach the National League Championship Series, Soler, like many Cubs batter’s, faded away. It was a disappointing way to end the season, but having this young club getting a taste of postseason baseball is both exciting and dangerous.

Dangerous for the rest of the league, that is.