Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler is finally at 100 percent health
By Trevor Hooth
Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler reported to camp at 100 percent health after battling his a fracture in his foot last season.
Jorge Soler was off to a great start in second season in the Kansas City Royals organization until he fractured his first metatarsal bone in his left foot. In other words, he broke his big toe. The injury occurred in the middle of June, and would hold him out for the rest of the year. He is now completely healthy.
The hope is that Soler can continue the breakout year it seemed he was enjoying in 2018 before the injury. He will just have to figure out where he fits into the lineup. The only opening in the outfield is in a fierce right field battle. Many think his home will be at DH.
Breaking Out Is Hard To Do
When the Kansas City Royals got their hands on Soler via the Wade Davis trade, they were hoping he could build on his 2015 season where he hit .262 in 101 games.
By all accounts, 2018 was going to be Soler’s year before his injury. Through 61 games he was hitting .265 with nine homers. He was worth 0.9 fWAR and 123 wRC+. Most of that was due to is offense, there is a reason he fits the DH job description so well.
DH is exactly where Soler is projected to end up almost everywhere. ZiPS projections have him there, and slashing .248/.340/.423. All that translates to a 0.6 fWAR.
Can He Be The Right Fielder?
Technically, yes he could. Realistically, probably not. The Kansas City Royals mantra heading into the season is speed and defense. That is not Soler’s game. In all likelihood he will end up in the lineup, but he will not be playing the field.
Even if his defense were a little better, it wouldn’t help. Brett Phillips is a glove first prospect with a cannon for an arm. He is the best fit for the speed and defense mold. Behind him are Jorge Bonifacio and Brian Goodwin who both serve the identity better than Soler can.
Offense, Offense, Offense
A healthy Soler can be such a productive player in the Kansas City Royals offense. If he is at 100 percent, than the foot injury is no issue. That is not an injury that is as scary when it comes to hindering production when healed. Because of that, I would expect his production to be closer to what it appeared in 2018 than what he is projected.
This is the time of year when all teams are at their healthiest. So, hopefully Soler stays that way and the Royals can get an honest gauge of what they have in the outfielder entering his third year with the team.