Jorge Soler has become a household name for the Kansas City Royals this season and he received his praise from his manager on his plate discipline.
What more can we say about Jorge Soler in 2019? The 27-year old who’s finally healthy for the first time in his career is living up to his potential as a member of the Kansas City Royals. If someone had told me that Soler would have close to 50 home runs this season, I think I would have laughed in their face.
Nobody expected this type of season from the former Chicago Cub but he’s loving every minute of this memorable second half of the season. He put up a strong first half of the season highlighted by a 0.240/0.307/0.497 slash line with 23 home runs and 59 RBI’s (106 wRC+).
However, he was still striking out in close to 30 percent of his plate appearances. Whatever he did at the All-Star break worked for him because he’s been excellent in the second half with a 0.283/0.410/0.649 slash line to go along with 24 home runs and 48 RBI’s. More importantly, he’s reduced his strikeout rate to 21 percent and his walk rate is now above 16 percent.
Ned Yost has taken notice of it as well:
"“He’s learned how to be a tremendous offensive producer at the big league level. He’s learned the strike zone intricately. He’ll argue with umpires, and every time you go look, he’s right. Umpires are wrong, he’s right. Every time.” – Fox Sports Kansas City"
While it’s unknown if Yost will return in 2020, he’s definitely not wrong on Soler’s improved discipline. A closer look at his second-half indicates that he’s seeing less breaking balls because he’s learned to lay off of those pitches. As a result, the number of fastballs he’s seeing has increased and he’s been hammering them essentially to the moon.
Looking at the figure above, 1-in-3 pitches he was seeing were breaking balls, but since July 1, that trend has taken a nosedive in the positive direction for Soler. He’s come a long way in a short amount of time so we have to give some credit to the Royals coaching staff for making Soler into one of the most feared hitters this season. And if you were not aware, he is now second in the American League in home runs behind only Mike Trout and is tied for second in RBI’s as well.
We’ll see what happens with Ned Yost in the coming weeks but hopefully, Soler can continue this momentum into 2020, which would be a huge boost for this Royals offense.