Post-Hype Sleeper? Opportunity Or Not, Jorge Soler Isn’t An Ideal Target

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jorge Soler has long been hyped, including being the “prized” return that the Royals received for closer Wade Davis a little over a year ago.  Unfortunately he’s never seemed capable of putting it together, and his struggles (.144 with 2 HR and 6 RBI over 110 PA in ’17) led to only 35 games in the Majors in ’17.

As we enter 2018 it appears that he will be primed to reestablish his upside.  Turning 26-years old before the start of the season, it makes sense for the rebuilding Royals to give him playing time and seeing if he’s a part of their long-term future.  Can he step up?

 

Power
In 327 PA at Triple-A in ’17 he hit 24 HR, so you would think that it’s a no-brainer that he continues tapping into his power potential.  However he needed a 28.2% HR/FB to get there and showed next to no additional extra base power (9 doubles and 0 triples).  That’s not promising over the long-term…

He’s shown a little bit more in the Majors, with 29 HR (as well as 40 doubles and 2 triples) over 779 AB over parts of four seasons.  Of course that also only puts him on pace for 17-21 HR over a 500 AB season.  While he could add little bit more given his age, with power up across the game it’s hard to get excited.

 

Average
At both Triple-A and the Majors Soler struggled to hit the ball hard in ’17 (line drive rate):

  • Triple-A – 13.8%
  • Majors – 18.0%

That’s not to say that he can’t improve upon his .203 BABIP, but significantly?  It’s not likely.

While he was able to draw walks at Triple-A (15.3%), strikeouts continue to be a significant issue.  Just look at the strikeout rates and SwStr% at each level he played:

Level
Strikeout Rate
SwStr%
Triple-A25.1%14.4%
Majors32.7%13.5%

Few line drives + little hope for improved strikeouts?  That’s not a good combination.

 

Conclusion
He’s not a speedster, has questions about his power and appears incapable of hitting for a strong average.  It seems like there’s a better chance that he fails to take advantage of his opportunity than he steps up and thrives.  There are simply better gambles to take.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
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Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

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