After not hitting a home run through May 14th, Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Alfonso Soriano has hit 12 home runs in his past 25 games. He also has 23 RBI over that same time frame. Can the 36-year-old slugger continue to pound the baseball?
One key will be his health. Soriano hasn’t played in 150 games since 2006 and has only topped 137 games one year (2010 when he played 147 games). Despite his age and missed games, Soriano has blasted at least 20 home runs the past 10 seasons, including a combined 50 over the past two.
Soriano has been much better against right-handed pitching (.291 average, .827 OPS vs. .224, .835), but he has hit a third of his home runs against southpaws despite having fewer than a quarter of his at-bats against them.
A similar story for Soriano can be told about his home and road splits. Soriano is hitting .291 at home vs. .264 on the road, but his OPS is much closer at .837 to .822. That’s because he’s hitting a home run every 15.1 road at-bats vs. every 21.5 at home.
That could be good news for Soriano owners because he is fairly likely to be traded, with the Cubs picking up a big chunk of his salary. Moving to a contender could be very good news for Soriano—not only because he will likely be surrounded by better players, but with his career winding down, he could be energized by the move.
Another perk could be more night games, as the Cubs traditionally play less of those than any other team. Soriano is hitting .245 with a .724 OPS during day games and .309 and .948 at night.
There is definitely room for concern—considering his age and the fact that he hasn’t hit .260 since 2008—but he’s on fire right now and should be used accordingly.
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