Corey Patterson. Kerry Wood. Mark Prior. Bobby Hill.
Chicago Cubs fans have heard it all when it comes to top draft picks. Countless times, we’ve been excited about the new draft pick who is supposedly “the next big thing” until he crashes and burns a few years into his Major League career.
So far, outfield prospect Jorge Soler doesn’t seem to be living up to the hype that surrounds him–he’s exceeding expectations.
Should fans get excited about this new prospect? You bet!
The Cuban ballplayer caught the attention of many baseball fans on Friday when he homered during his first at-bat as a Cub. Granted, this was during an intra-squad game, but hey, a homer is a homer. He was also praised by Cubs manager Dale Sveum for a walk on a full-count as well as a sliding catch he made in the ninth inning of the game.
Sveum offered encouraging words about the prospect, calling Soler’s bat speed “impressive,” although that was expected of him.
Soler’s translator told the Chicago Tribune that “he wants to leave his mark for Chicago.”
For a guy who only turned 21 on Monday, that’s a pretty powerful statement to make.
The question is: can he continue to live up to the hype that surrounds his name? At the rate he’s going, it seems like he has the potential to deliver. If Soler works hard and stays healthy during his progression through the minors, he may be the Cubs’ next rising star, bringing his strength at the plate and on the field to work each day.
While the news of this young man’s progress is exciting, don’t expect to see him in the big leagues quite yet. Soler is scheduled to start the season in the minors at Single-A Daytona to learn the skills he needs to play with the big dogs in Chicago.
Soler is just one of three prospects the Cubs have high hopes for–the others being Javier Baez and Junior Lake.
It sounds like the Cubs may have found some prospects that have the ability to bring some strength to this sinking team. Although it may take a few years for Soler to work his way to the big leagues, the rest of Major League Baseball may have a new player to fear when he finally makes his Cubs debut.