With little more than a month remaining in the regular season, the promotion of Jorge Soler to the MLB squad is likely the last top prospect to make the jump in 2014. Despite yet another dismal season, the call-ups of the likes of Arismendy Alcantara, Kyle Hendriks, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and the acquisition of Jacob Tuner, along with noteworthy play [in the minors] from Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber, have allowed these last few months of Cub’s baseball to be well worth our time and intrigue.
Sure, Cubs fans are excited to see how the 22-year-old Cuban defector will fare in the last month of the season, but let’s not kid ourselves, it has been all eyes on Javier Baez. He is the golden boy. The question is, should he be? Let’s take a look at Soler’s forecast and see how he matches up with Mr. Baez.
A bit of preliminary information on these two young guns…
Javier Baez: At 21 years and 8 moths, Baez is a right-handed power infielder that was drafted by the Cubs with the 9th overall pick in the 2011 amateur player draft. He checks in at 6’0″/190 lb. He debuted for the MLB squad on 8/5/2014, maintains rookie status and currently would be arbitration eligible in 2017 — barring trades, contract extensions, etc. His inital signing bonus banked $2.65M and he’s currently making $500K annually. Baez has played in 21 MLB, 104 Triple-A and 54 Double-A games.
Jorge Soler: Soler, 22 years 6 months, defected from Cuba and signed with the Cubs as an International Free Agent on 6/11/2012. Checking in at 6’4″/215 lb., he is a right-handed hitting/throwing outfielder. Soler debuted for Cubs on 8/27/2014 and is currently signed to a 9-year/$30M deal; however, the structure of his contract allows him to opt out of his deal when he first becomes arbitration eligible. Soler has played in 1 MLB game and 151 minor league games.
Which of these two will lead a budding Cubs Organization to the promise land? In short, probably both, but for the sake of argument — and because the “both” answer is just too darn easy — we shall dig deeper.
In 2014, Javier Baez played in 104 MiLB games while Jorge Soler has seen action in 62 contests. The sample size is small but given how young these two players are and having next to no major league experience, we will use the 2014 MiLB campaign as our guide.
Jorge Soler hit for a .340 AVG, .432 OBP, .700 SLG and .381 BABIP. He walked 14.6% of the time while striking out at a 20% clip, which equates to a .68 strike out to walk ratio. Soler hit 1 home run for every 13 at bats for a total 15 HR in his 62 games played. He has attempted just one stolen base in 2014; however, that could be due to the fact he has been nursing a hamstring injury for most of the season.
Javier Baez clubbed for a .260 AVG, .323 OBP, .510 and .322 BABIP. He drew a walk on just 7.8% of his plate appearances while getting called out on strikes at a 30% rate — a .26 BB/K clip. Baez poked 23 home runs in 388 at bats, which is good for 1 HR for every 17 at bats; swiping 16 bags in 24 attempts. Note: Baez played all of his 104 games at the Tiple-A level, whereas Soler played 8 games at Single-A, 22 at Double-A and 32 at Triple-A (62 total).
The fact is both of these guys can rake and can handle a glove, but it’s Soler that will ultimately develop into that polished 5-tool-type player that every organization covets. Jorge Soler will anchor the team that leads the Chicago Cubs to the World Series. Him and Kris Bryant of course. Oh, and did I mention Javy Baez?
Written By Guest Writer: Keith Tro