The Chicago Cubs will promote outfielder Jorge Soler to the major leagues before Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds. Dave Kaplan of CSNChicago.com first reported the news on Twitter late yesterday evening.
Soler becomes the third Cubs prospect to be promoted to the major leagues, following the promotions of outfielder/second baseman Arismendy Alcantara and shortstop/second baseman Javier Baez. Baez was ranked as the Cubs' second best prospect, and fifth-best prospect overall, in the mid-season ranking by MLB.com and has been hitting .207/.244/.488 with seven homers and 11 runs batted in in 20 games since being brought to the MLB. Alcantara was ranked as the 89th best prospect by MLB.com prior to this season, and in 41 games since his promotion, he is hitting .228/.286/.359 with four home runs and 14 runs batted in while providing very good defense, even with a shift to the outfield.
Soler will get his feet wet in the big leagues for the final month of the season. The 22-year-old has spent most of his 2014 campaign in Double-A and Triple-A (while also playing in eight games in Rookie), dominating the pitching for a .340/.432/.700 slash line with 15 home runs and 57 runs batted in in a very limited 236 plate appearances. Hamstring injuries have just limited him to just 62 games this season, but when he has been on the field, he has been very solid.
Keith Law of ESPN.com ranked Soler as the 28th best prospect in baseball during his midseason top-50 rankings. He called Soler's bat speed "electric" and noted that he is a "monster if he can just stay on the field." Law noted that Soler could have profiled as a top-10 prospect due to his offensive abilities alone, but his struggles to stay on the field had to keep him grounded at 28th. He noted that his arm and athleticism could make him an average defender at right field, where he is likely to end up.
The future is coming into sight for the Cubs. Soler has been in their organization since 2012, when the Cubs locked him up to a nine-year, heavily backloaded $30 million deal. Now he, along with other of their top offensive prospects, are either really close to the major leagues or are in the major leagues. If Soler can prove that he can hit big league pitching (which is the hope), expect him to be in the Cubs' starting outfield on Opening Day 2015.