Chicago Cubs: Soler lacked consistency, still has tremendous upside
By Quinn Allen
Ex-Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler lacked consistency at the plate and in the field in 2016. Heading to an American League team, The Kansas City Royals could be a great opportunity for the young Cuban in 2017.
The Chicago Cubs signed Jorge Soler in 2012, with the intentions that he would make an impact at the big league level within a couple years. He soared through the minors, making his major league debut at 22 years of age in 2014.
The big Cuban outfielder has all the tools, but he has struggled to put them all together in his tenure in the big leagues.
2015 saw Soler deal with several injuries. This past season Soler experienced a bit of the same. He suffered a strained left hamstring in early July, which landed him on the 15 day DL. He was never really able to solidify an outfield spot with Chicago in 2016.
The 24-year-old had trouble being consistent at the plate, and was a very average outfielder, although he does possess a very strong throwing arm. His routes to balls in the outfield looked shaky at times, which lead to Soler mostly entering the games later in the season as a pinch hitter.
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He’s very young still and has lots of time to learn. He is a very big and physical looking player, who does possess all the tools you look for in a major league caliber player.
He’s got huge power at the plate. In fact, one of Soler’s home runs this past season registered in at 114 miles per hour off the bat, one of the hardest hit balls in the majors all season.
When it comes to defense, he honestly just needs more reps. Staying healthy has been a problem for Soler, which makes it tough for any big leaguer to reach his full potential. Like I mentioned above, his arm is very strong. The majority of his throws from the outfield register in over 90 mph.
KC is a good fit
Personally, I think the Royals is a great fit for the young Cuban outfielder. Kansas City lost Kendrys Morales to the Blue Jays, and he was a 30+ home run guy for them and a big bat in the middle of their lineup. Soler will hit in the meat of their lineup, and it’s only a matter of time till he really figures it out at the plate. Once he does, I believe he could be a serious power hitter in the big leagues.
Playing in the American League will also give Soler the chance to be put in a designated hitter role. This way, he can focus on his bat more and not have to worry about defense as much. That being said, the Royals have a great outfield coach in Rusty Kuntz. It will be expected that Rusty will work with Soler a fair bit in spring training.
This is something I have mentioned in past articles, and I stand by it. Being strong is one thing, but having tremendous strength is only helpful in baseball if you have bat speed. Soler may have only hit 12 homers in 2016, but the average distance of those home runs was 408 feet. That led the entire Cubs roster. Exit velocity is another number we refer to these days. Soler recorded an average exit velocity of 105.9 in 2016, also highest on the Cubs roster.
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Here’s what I’m trying to say. He may have struggled to find his groove yet, but he is hitting balls hard. Whether they’re fly balls that he just missed or hard ground balls, Soler is scorching the baseball. It’s only a matter of time till those balls will be leaving the ballpark, or find the gaps on a consistent basis for the 24-year-old.
Jorge Soler may have struggled with consistency in a Cubs uniform, but there was definitely some bright spots. Some big home runs in the 2015 postseason, most notably. Either way, Soler was still a beloved player in Chicago.
I believe he will really break out in 2017 with the Royals. All five tools that Soler possesses will be on display in Kansas City.