Week of July 7 - July 13
For even the most forgiving and attentive prospect followers, it can be easy to forget about prospects who struggle for an extended period of time. Their names get tweeted about less and less, and just start to fade from the forefront of prospect talk and - OH, did Kris Bryant hit another home run? He did? Can you believe the season he's having? Boy howdy!
When coupled with prospect fatigue (a phenomenon where people start to dislike a prospect's chances because they've been hearing about his name for so long), guys can be shunted to the back burner very quickly. Such has been the case for Jorge Soler, who has struggled to remain on the field since signing in 2012. Despite all of the positive reports on him, it's tough to stay excited about a guy who has played in just 89 games above Rookie ball in three seasons.
This doesn't mean that Soler is much less of a prospect as a result, something he's trying to prove to Cubs fans with his monstrous return to AA. Since he came back again last Sunday (which isn't technically in the range of this recap, but technicalities are for chumps), Soler has gone out and hit.522/.577/1.261 with five home runs and a pair of doubles in seven games.
These numbers are a product of a SSS hot streak, to be sure, but they provide a glimpse at the damage Soler can inflict on opposing pitchers when he's fully healthy. He's still the same old Jorge Soler that has nearly as much raw power as Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, the chance to make enough contact for it to play, and the arm to be a defensive weapon in right field.
So welcome back, Jorge Soler, and may you never fade from the Cubs' future plans again!
Elsewhere, Everyone Else is Hitting a Bunch of Dingers, Too
Soler had 5 bombs this week, leading a power surge throughout the Cubs' farm system. Jeimer Candelario has three in the past week, including two yesterday, and Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora hit two apiece. The Cubs boast the best collection of power prospects in the game, so it's never a surprise when they collectively go on a tear like this.
This collection was given a chance to show off in Sunday's Futures Game, where both Javier Baez and Kris Bryant put on dazzling displays of power that had the prospect writers in attendance all atwitter. In BP, Baez reportedly put shot after shot into the 2nd and 3rd decks in Target Field, while Bryant displayed his effortless opposite-field power by hitting nothing but opposite field bombs in his BP session.
Baez kept it up once the game actually started, hitting a rocket out to right-center off of one of the best pitching prospects in the game, Lucas Giolito.
Arismendy Alcantara Was Called Up, Is Likely Staying Up
Arismendy Alcantara, who hit a similarly-impressive Futures Game homer last season, was finally called up to Chicago this week, and is Wally Pipp-ing Darwin Barney to the tune of .391/.400/.739 through his first 25 plate appearances. The Cubs have extended his reportedly-temporary call-up once already, and I don't see how they can send Alcantara back down at this point. His glove has looked very good, and he looks more than capable of holding his own at the plate.
Unlike the reaction to Junior Lake's flash-in-the-pan 2013 season, there's real reason to be excited about Alcantara going forward. The number 18 prospect on BaseballProspectus' mid-season Top 50 Prospect List, Alcantara is an exciting ballplayer who can impact the game in the field, at the plate, and on the basepaths. He's legit, folks.
Top Performances of the Week
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Filed under: Minor League News