Despite the 41-58 record this season, 2014 may be the best time to start following the Chicago Cubs.
In what may very well be the last abysmal season on the North Side, the Cubs have compiled what is perhaps one of the best farm systems in the history of baseball. Possessing who many to believe to be the top prospect in the game in Kris Bryant, the Cubs are loaded at the top beyond that.
Within the top 10 prospects in baseball there are two more Cubs prospects, Addison Russell and Javier Baez. The top loaded farm system gives off insane depth beyond this, and an entire article can be written naming the massive amount of Cubs prospects who can become contributors at the big league level.
Yet there is one Cubs prospect that is often forgotten, mostly due to some injury problems early on in his minor league career, and is also overshadowed by the vast improvements of Bryant and Baez.
In 2012, the Cubs signed a 20 year old Cuban outfielder named Jorge Soler to a modest major league deal of 9 years/$30 million. With his rather young age, Soler was put in the minor leagues, and needed some form of development before making the jump up to MLB.
After posting .299 and .281 batting averages in 2012 and 2013 respectively in the Cubs’ minor league system, the hype on Soler significantly died down. He had battled several injuries, including having both of his hamstrings hurt, and despite having a large amount of raw skill and talent, was not healthy enough to get a large enough sample size to see exactly what the Cubs have in Soler.
In 2014, the Cubs haven’t needed sample sizes for the Cuban outfielder.
Even with battling two different hamstring injuries this season, Soler’s numbers at Double-A Tennessee were devastating. In 22 games, Soler posted a .415/.494/.862 triple slash, which leads to a monstrous 1.355 OPS. Soler had put up 6 HR and 22 RBI, and his efforts were rewarded with a promotion to join fellow top prospects Kris Bryant and Javier Baez at Triple-A Iowa.
Soler possesses tools that the Cubs need to completely revamp their offense for next season. Putting next season aside, however, Soler is also rumored to be a September call-up for the team, along with Javier Baez.
With an elite ability of contact, speed, power, and above average fielding, Soler might become the most successful prospect out of a farm system that is historically loaded with high ceiling prospects. Soler will look to take the major leagues by storm next season, and looks to be a substantial part in the future of the Chicago Cubs.
If Soler can resemble his success in the minors in Triple-A and eventually the major leagues, the Cubs are in a position to have one of the most feared lineups in years, a lineup that will be even more effective in a pitcher-dominant era.