Cubs farm report: Soler launches first HR; AZL stacked with talent
Jorge Soler made his presence known during his second game as a professional. The 20-year-old Cuban defector, whom the Cubs signed to a nine-year/ $30MM deal on June 11, hit a moon shot over the center-field wall in his second at-bat Sunday night for the AZL Cubs, estimated at well over 400-feet. He also almost took the head off of third baseman Tanner Rahier, a second pick of the Reds, with a line drive in the bottom of the sixth inning. Soler finished 2-for-4 with two RBI along with the home run. Rahier had to be helped off the field but was okay and on the field after the game.
The 6’-3”, 225-pound right-hander is a five-tool prospect with power being his best. Both Keith Law of ESPN and Jim Callis of Baseball America said that he would have been a top-five pick in this year’s draft had he been eligible to enter.
The AZL Cubs lost 6-4 to the AZL Reds but are still tied for the best record in the league with the AZL Athletics at 18-7. The team is loaded with talent and represents the future of an organization that has finally committed to building up their farm system after years, make that decades, of futility in doing so. Aside from Soler, some other players that fans should start taking notice of:
Daniel Vogelbach went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the loss and is now hitting .330 with 11 doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBI over 23 games. The 6’-1”, 250-pound left-hander also has a .410 OBP, .720 SLG and is the team’s best power prospect in the minors.
Shawon Dunston went 3-for-4, and over his last six games, is 10-for-28 (.357) with a double, triple, 5 RBI and three walks. The 19-year-old left-hander has been showing great patience at the plate lately, as well as showing off his blistering speed.
Garrett Schlecht, another 19-year old left-hander, went 1-for-3 with a stolen base, and is hitting .321 with a .406 OBP over his last 10 games. The 6’-2”, 200-pound outfielder has one of the better batting eyes in the organization and a high IQ for the game.
Jacob Rogers, the team’s 40th-round pick in this year’s draft, is hitting .400 (20-for-50) over his first 15 games with seven doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and a .700 SLG. The 6’-5”, 200-pound left-hander has big time power to go along with a very good approach at the plate. He hit 17 home runs and had 57 walks over 54 games at Mount Olive CC this past season.
Justin Amlung, the team’s 12th-round pick out of Louisville, has tossed four shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three to no walks. The 6’-1”, right-hander was one of the best pitchers in college this year, going 9-4 with a 2.31 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 105 K/26 BB over 109 innings.
The Cubs firs-round pick, Albert Almora, is expected to make his pro debut within the next couple of days with the team. The 6’-2”, 185-pound center-fielder was considered by most to be the most polished high school player in the draft and oozes potential as a future high-average hitter with both power and speed, as well as being a Gold Glove caliber defender and clubhouse leader.