The Chicago Cubs called up the Cuban phenom Jorge Soler to the big leagues (first reported by David Kaplan of CSN Chicago) and he is set to join the team on Wednesday. Soler, 22, is promoted after batting .340/.432/.700 in 200 at-bats in Rookie, Double-A and Triple-A combined this season.
The outfielder, who signed a nine-year, $30-million deal back in 2012, has been acclaimed as one of the top positional prospects by experts. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 215 lbs, he has a "plus plus power" with above-average athleticism. He will join Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez as one of the talented positional prospects called up to the Cubs in this season.
Soler is already under a guaranteed contract that put him into the 40-man roster, which means that he is not subject to any service time issues. He leaves Triple-A on a hot note, batting .550 with three homers in last five games before promotion. The outfielder is still young and needs a bit more polish in his game, according to Vince Lara-Cinosomo:
Soler’s 22, but because of injuries and two suspensions in 2013, he has only 544 minor league at-bats, so his learning curve, especially in the majors, is going to be greater than that of Baez, who’s showing power but striking out nearly 50 percent of the time, or even Bryant, who has college experience behind him.
One PCL manager said Soler will probably need 300 to 400 more at-bats to stabilize his approach, which is unusually controlled for a former Cuban junior national team member. Soler has struck out 105 times in his minor league career, opposed to 66 walks, so he does a good job of making contact—and hard, consistent contact.
Another PCL manager said Soler had 70 power on the 20-80 scout scale, just a notch below Bryant.
He’s been red hot of late at Iowa, so a fantasy owner who grabs him could see a spurt of power, but although Soler is an efficient baserunner (17 of 20 in his career), he did not attempt a steal this year, in part because of hamstring issues and likely because the Cubs did not want to risk another injury.
For the Cubs, this is another advancement of their young talent being showcased in the big leagues. The front office counts on the collection of hitting talents - Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Arismendy Alcantara - to move forward for the 2015 season and beyond to contend. Soler, who performed well in Triple-A, will gain a valuable experience in the Major Leagues by being in the roster.