Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27
The Chicago Cubs confirmed Jorge Soler's major league debut on Wednesday:
Chicago Cubs fans have spent their entire lives saying “wait ’til next year,” but next year feels closer than it ever has recently.
Jorge Soler is the latest highly regarded prospect in the Chicago system to get the major league call-up, as David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com first reported and Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com confirmed:
*Breaking* As we were first to report, Jorge Soler is next prospect to make his Major League debut. He is expected to be recalled tomorrow.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) August 26, 2014
#Cubs to call up Jorge Soler. Not expected to join team until Wed in Cincy— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 26, 2014
Soler was pulled from Monday's Triple-A game after he clubbed a three-run home run. He signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs in 2012 after defecting from Cuba in 2011 and has put up head-turning numbers in 62 games this year.
Between rookie ball, Double-A and Triple-A, Soler is hitting .340 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles and 57 RBI. He missed much of last season with a fractured tibia but has not missed a beat this year.
The amount of young talent, particularly in the hitting department, in the Chicago Cubs system is baseball’s worst-kept secret. Between Soler, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Addison Russell, Arismendy Alcantara, Kris Bryant and the young but established Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, the Cubs are loaded going forward.
Chicago president of baseball operations Theo Epstein discussed Soler, via Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com:
He's always shown an ability to manage an at-bat. Probably just about as good as any power hitter in the organization, if not better. I think that's showing up more consistently now.
Ever since he's come off the DL the second time, he's had very consistent, high-quality at-bats in Double-A and Triple-A. He's not swinging at chase pitches, he's focused throughout the at-bat and he's getting pitches he can do some damage on. That's not something we taught him, that's something he showed up with and we're just trying to harness it.
The 22-year-old Soler will pick up valuable experience at the major league level with this call-up, which should pay dividends next season and beyond when the Cubs are ready to contend. He will likely join Baez and Alcantara as everyday cogs in the lineup, despite their status as prospects.
It is no coincidence that the Cubs are 16-11 since July 27 with all this talent reaching the big league club. The real question now is whether they can tie it all together next season when the team is technically back in contention again.