Jorge Soler had a coming-out party in 2019 and the whole world was impressed.
Going into 2019 Jorge Soler had only made it through 96 games for the Royals in his 2 years with the team. And, even though his 2018 season had shown some real promise before ending with an injury, there were some real doubts about whether he could ever become a true slugger in the big leagues or if he was just another powerful Quad-A type hitter.
Soler’s power was always respected. That is why he was traded for Wade Davis. He has even always shown a willingness to take a walk. The issue was making consistent contact. His first season in Kansas City, in 2017, he struck out in more than 32 percent of his at-bats. You can only hit so many extra-base hits when you are striking out in a third of your plate appearances.
In 2019, Soler was finally healthy. And he was hungry. And, boy, did he eat. He slugged .570. He hit 82 extra-base hits. He hit 48 home runs. 48! Those are the numbers of an elite slugger.
The most promising aspect of Soler in 2019 is that his full season with an OPS+ of 138 looks for real and sustainable. His strikeout percentage, his walk percentage, his batting average, his hard-hit percentage were almost all identical to 2018. The only difference in 2019 was that he stayed healthy and was able to get more at-bats.
Jorge Soler will be 28 years old in 2020. And anyone who watched him bat over the second half of the season knows just how big league pitchers feel facing this monster right now. He is a powerful and confident homerun hitting machine in his prime. We may have never seen a better power hitter in his prime in a Royals uniform. Let us be sure to enjoy this one while it lasts.