Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler
Blessed with raw talent on par with any of the best players in Major League Baseball, Kansas City Royals outfielder/DH Jorge Soler has only managed to frustrate in his four years in the big leagues. He was supposed to join Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber in forming the core of World Series champions in Chicago. That never quite materialized, despite flashes of brilliance, and the Cubs shipped Soler to KC for All-Star closer Wade Davis.
Staying healthy and on the field has been the biggest problem for the 26-year-old Soler. The Cubs knew he was raw when they signed him out of Cuba, and his maturation was hampered by the fact that he played only 151 games in the minors over three seasons. Soler’s approach at the plate continues to stagnate, and he bottomed out with a .144/.245/.248 line for the Royals in 2017.
Soler spent most of his healthy time at Triple-A last season, and slugged 24 home runs in only 74 games. He admits to dealing with a lack of motivation in the minor leagues and with his bench role on the Royals. Soler has worked very hard over the offseason to lose weight and make adjustments to his swing, and the Royals are impressed so far.
"“I had an awful season,” said Soler, who’s listed by the Royals at 6 feet 4 and 215 pounds. “Things went fine in the minor leagues but not in the big leagues. Obviously there were things I was doing wrong. I needed to make adjustments. … I don’t know how it’ll translate to the field but in the cage there’s an incredible change. I’ve never felt this way.”"
As the Royals move forward into a new era without Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, they will need Jorge Soler to develop into a foundational piece to avoid a complete tumble down the standings. The tools are there, but will he ever find a way to put it all together?