The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of another difficult season, but the debut of top prospect Jorge Soler is a signal that better days are on the horizon.
According to Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com, the Cubbies have decided to see what the rising Cuban star can do at the big league level:
Per the Cubs' official Twitter account, he will make his debut and bat fifth against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night:
At 22 years old with monster numbers in the minors, Soler is more than ready to make the jump. He is a career .307 hitter with 28 home runs in 544 minor league at-bats, and the Cubs are certainly hopeful that those numbers will translate.
Soler is the latest Cubs wunderkind to get the call in recent weeks, as shortstop Javier Baez was called up a few weeks ago. While Baez has had his struggles, he already has seven home runs in just 21 games.
ESPN.com's Keith Law is among those who are intrigued by the Cubs' youth movement:
If nothing else, Baez's arrival has sparked interest in a team that is currently 59-72 and in last place in the NL Central. The Cubs could maintain the status quo and stick with temporary Band-Aid options for the remainder of the season, but that isn't what the fans want to see.
Chicago hasn't qualified for the playoffs since 2008, so the organization has to give the Cubs faithful something to latch on to. Although the Cubs may still be a few years from truly contending, getting to see players like Soler and Baez figure things out at the MLB level brings a certain degree of excitement.
It suggests that there is finally an end in sight to the suffering, and it also provides the Cubs with an opportunity to see what their prospects are made of.
If Soler excels and makes an instant impact, Chicago will know that he is ready for the spotlight. If he falters, then it means he needs more seasoning. Nobody will label him a failure if his first stint with the team doesn't go perfectly, and he would have some valuable experience on his side regardless.
With Soler poised to make his major league debut, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein can't help but be excited. Even though the likes of Soler, Baez and others still need to develop, Epstein knows that the organization is now moving in the right direction, per Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. We have a lot of talent moving through our system and getting through to the big-league level, so that provides us opportunities in the near future and the distant future—to make it count and to win.
'We're excited about that—even as we recognize there is an extraordinary amount of work left to be done. That continues. That doesn't stop or change one iota because one player's made it up to the big leagues.'
Some might feel as though Soler needs more time since he has only been in the United States since 2012, but there isn't much more for him to prove beneath the major league level. He is head and shoulders above his peers, and the Cubs would have run the risk of Soler becoming complacent had they kept him down.
Now that he has a new challenge and something to strive for, it will be interesting to see how Soler responds. There is nothing wrong with a team putting a bit of pressure on one of their prospects since they'll have to face far tougher circumstances in the future.
With the Cubs going nowhere this season, now is the perfect time to integrate Soler. It gives him a head start with regard to the 2015 season, and it gives Cubs fans something to cheer for while they wait for a winning culture to be established.
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