Cubs Call Up Prospect Jorge Soler: What Should We Expect?
Hey, Chicago, save some super prospects for the rest of us. You know, wealth redistribution and all.
The Cubs have called up one of their top positional prospects (stop me if you've heard this before), Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, to the big leagues. It's not enough they're already enjoying the mashing of infielder Javier Baez, the ridiculous production from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and the promise of three future stars in center fielder/second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, third baseman Kris Bryant, and shortstop Addison Russell.
No, they have to go ahead and call up the man who many compare to a slightly less-fast Yasiel Puig to be their new right fielder for the last month of the season.
More than just a few highly-touted prospects have had unproductive seasons, both in fantasy and the real world, in 2014. St. Louis' Oscar Taveras, Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco, Boston's Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Houston's Jon Singleton have all been less-than-impressive so far in their brief careers. Still, that doesn't mean you should lump Jorge Soler into that group.
His minor league numbers this year were flat-out ridiculous.
Uh, that'll play.
FanGraphs' Kiley McDonald projected a slash line for Soler, based on tools as rated by scouts, of .285/.360/.485. He's not rated as much of a runner by those scouts, and won't fill up the stolen base ledger of your stat sheets. But the guy can flat-out hit, and his time in the Cuban professional league means he's a bit more seasoned than some of the other prospects mentioned above.
Compare Soler's minor league numbers to those of Bryant's, and you'll see the two Chicago uber-prospects are comparable in almost every category.
Soler doesn't have as many plate appearances as Bryant this year because he has missed time due to a hamstring injury. And while Bryant has absolutely raked and put up ridiculous power numbers this season, Soler has been on a similar pace, and has done so with better plate discipline.
Again, in fewer plate appearances, Soler's walk rate has been about the same as Bryant's, while his strikeout rate has been much lower.
I'm not arguing that Soler is better than Bryant, but rather that the two are pretty darn comparable.
The 22-year-old Cuban sensation entered the season as a top-50 prospect in baseball, although injuries are a concern. Soler only played 75 games last year because of injuries, and had just 62 games under his belt this season. He needs to stay on the field with more frequency. But when he does, he mashes.
Even better for Chicago, he's far cheaper than fellow countrymen Puig, Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes. He signed a nine-year, $30 million deal back in 2012 which paid him a guaranteed $2 million this year. He's slated to earn $2 million next season, and then $3 million each in 2016 and 2017. After that, he can either choose to abide by the contract he signed, or enter arbitration. If he's as successful as everyone thinks he will be, he's going to get mighty expensive after that.
However, for the next three years at least, he's going to cost the Cubs $8 million. Wow.
Some day, perhaps very soon, we will all have to fear the Cubs. And Jorge Soler will almost certainly help lead the campaign of destruction that will befall the rest of the National League.