Jorge Soler: Will 2016 Be the Year He Breaks Out?


We all enter the draft with certain guys that we are going to make a point of owning because we like them that much. I am not ashamed to say that going into 2015 I had a huge man crush on Jorge Soler and pretty much owned him in every league I could. His 2015 season failed to lived up to my expectation, but could 2016 actually be the year where he breaks out? 

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Unfortunately, as i was heavily interested in him, it meant that I reached for Soler and overlooked multiple other players. But I valued Soler to the point where I had to own him or I thought I would regret it. However, as the season played out Soler never really got into a rhythm at the plate and really left fantasy owners wondering why they were so excited in the first place.

Jorge Soler finished with a line of, .262/10 HR/47 RBI/3 SB/.723 OPS. A line that resembles more of a bench player, rather than the blossoming star that would take over the league by storm. Now I will not dismiss the pure talent that Soler possesses, but is the raw talent enough to warrant trusting him again?

Heading into 2016 I think Soler fits the perfect billing of a post-hype sleeper. Bitter owners will write off Soler as a failed experiment, while other owners will just see his final stat line and move on to other more alluring options on paper.

But, if we look at Soler’s season it’s clear that he was plagued by some clear problems. One having to be that his plate selection was horrid. In 101 games played, he managed to strike out 121 times. Clearly something that has to change in order for him to post respectable stats. He came out the gates slow in April batting only .247 with 2 homers. As May approached he started to turn it around batting .288 with 2 homers and 9 RBI, signaling some signs of him beginning to get in the swing of things.

But just as soon as he started to gather momentum, he was struck by a sprained ankle just as June started. He missed the entire month and would return in July where he once again struggled to get things going, .253/1 HR/9 RBI in July alone.

But, just as we saw in the beginning of the year, he started to get going in August batting, .284/2 HR/14 RBI, until he hit the DL again with an oblique injury. The point I am getting at is, Soler is very much a rhythm player that seems to be battle streakiness, but can get hot at any moment. In 2015, he was never afforded the ability to string along multiple good months as he was struck by an injuries just as he seemed to starting to break out of a funk.

This is where I think Soler can make the biggest improvement. The Cubs will have a great young lineup and Soler should be right in the middle of that offering him plenty of RBI chances. He is still only 23, and if he avoided a couple of these bad injuries and consequentially bad timing, we wouldn’t be here talking about a Soler rebound.

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Another encouraging sign of Soler gaining momentum towards 2016,was the success he had this postseason. He set the MLB postseason record for reaching base his first nine plate appearances and hee finished the postseason with a, .474/3 HR/5 RBI/1.705 OPS line, highlighted by an absolute bomb off Jacob deGrom.

Soler certainly disappointed in 2015, but 2016 very may well be the year he breaks out. He will still have to correct his “swing at everything moving” approach, but the raw power is tantalizing. Soler will come at a nice discount in 2016, and as a potential value OF3 or 4, he could be the steal of the draft and reaffirm why the hype is legit.

Next: Chris Carter: Power vs Average