Mar 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs, looking at their current roster, can be contenders in a couple of years. But what about now? They have some promising hitters and pitchers. One of those players made their debut late last season and will look to improve on that in 2015. His name is Jorge Soler. Slated to be the starting right fielder, Soler should be able to meet his projections for this season.
Soler didn’t spend much time in the minors last year. In 62 games across three leagues, he had 68 hits, 15 home runs and 57 RBI with a .340 average. He made his major-league debut in late August, but didn’t bring the success with him. He had just five home runs, 20 RBI and a .292 average in 24 games.
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His approach, not surprisingly, took a step back against major league pitching, as he posted a 6.2 percent walk rate compared to 13.4 and 15.2 percent rates he posted at Double-A and Triple-A, respectively. He struck out 24 times and walked just six times with the Cubs last season.
Soler needs to develop patience at the plate. His muscular, 6-4 frame allows him to connect with inside pitching, especially up in the zone, but anything over the outer third of the plate is a guaranteed swing and miss. This season, his rookie season, will be a season of improvements for Soler.
Of all the young Cubs players to debut last season, Soler has the biggest upside. While Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara can help with speed and hits, Soler’s biggest benefit will be power. He has the ability to hit plenty of extra-base hits and provide you with a good batting average.
In a standard, 10-team league, Soler should be a middle round draft pick as a top-30 outfielder. It’s just hard to bank on Soler with just 24 games under his belt and injuries all throughout his minor league career.
Projections: 23 home runs, 77 RBI, .266 average. Draft in Round 10.