Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler up for Hank Aaron Award

KC Royals Jorge Soler (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
KC Royals Jorge Soler (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Jorge Soler put up a monster season for the Kansas City Royals this year and he has been nominated for the Hank Aaron Award.

I imagine this won’t be the only award that Jorge Soler is nominated for, given the statistics he put up this season for the Kansas City Royals. Soler, 27, played in all 162 games this season and led the American League in home runs. Highlighted by a second half in which he slashed 0.299/0.411/0.665 with 15 doubles, 25 home runs, and 58 RBI’s (173 wRC+), being nominated for the Hank Aaron Award is a well-deserved honor.

The award was introduced in 1999 that originally honored the 25th year anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth‘s home run record and is given to the best hitter in each league. Last season, Christian Yelich and J.D. Martinez took home the award for the National League and American League, respectively.

Yelich, 27, experienced a breakout season for the Milwaukee Brewers in which he mashed 36 home runs with 110 RBI’s and also was named the National League MVP. While Soler likely won’t win the American League MVP, he definitely would be worthy of the Hank Aaron Award. As noted, he will likely be nominated for a Silver Slugger Award as well.

Soler was hampered by injuries in his first two seasons with the Kansas City Royals but finally turned his potential into reality this season on a bad team. He, along with a couple of other players, was one of the few bright spots for the team. Soler turned in a final slash line of 0.265/0.354/0.569 with 33 doubles, 1 triple, 48 home runs and 117 RBI’s.

He finished tied for 10th in doubles and tied for second in RBI’s in the American League. Soler did lead the league in strikeouts (178) but those were fairly easy to ignore given his production at the plate.

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As the Royals continue to build around him, I’d like to see him cut down on the number of strikeouts and he displayed remarkable improvement in the second half, reducing his strikeout rate from 29 percent to 23 percent. Similarly, his walk rate increased from 8 percent to 15 percent.