It didn’t take long for Cubs top outfield prospect Jorge Soler to show off his tremendous offensive upside. Four pitches, to be exact.
Soler, who was officially promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday afternoon, slugged a 2-1 Mat Latos pitch over the left-center field wall in his first major league at-bat Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park. Soler also had an RBI single in the eighth inning, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBI in his big league debut.
“He looked very comfortable in the box, as we were told before he got here,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday night after the 7-5 loss to the Reds. “That [second-inning home run] was a well-struck ball. Good for him. Good work.”
The 22-year-old Cuban is expected to serve as the Cubs’ everyday right fielder down the stretch this season and needs to be owned in all mixed fantasy leagues going forward. He has raked at every level since Theo Epstein and Co. signed him to a nine-year, $30 million contract in 2012. This year, Soler had registered an absurd .340/.432/.700 batting line with 15 home runs, 23 doubles, and 57 RBI in 62 games between the rookie-level Arizona League, Double-A Southern League, and Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Chicago has built quite a core of high-ceiling position players. The NL Central could be a beast in 2015.
Smyly Like You Mean It
Many criticized the Rays’ return package for David Price, saying they didn’t get nearly enough high-level talent and that dealing their ace earlier -- or even waiting until the winter -- could have netted much more. But take a look at what Drew Smyly is doing.
The 25-year-old left-hander dominated the Orioles on Wednesday night in Baltimore, allowing just one run on two hits over seven innings while striking out six. Smyly now has a 1.50 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 29/7 K/BB in 36 innings (five starts) since being dealt from Detroit to Tampa Bay in the July 31 three-team Price trade.
Price, meanwhile, had the worst outing of his career on Wednesday night against the Yankees -- at one point giving up nine consecutive hits. He owns a 4.41 ERA in 32 2/3 innings over the same span. Price, 29, is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season. Smyly is under contractual control through 2018.
Eaton Keeps Doing Everything
White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton was on a tear at the plate before an oblique strain sent him to the disabled list on August 9, batting .435 with a 1.007 OPS in 95 plate appearances since July 10. And he has picked up where he left off since returning.
Eaton had an RBI single in his first game back on Tuesday and then doubled, tripled, and scored two runs in his second game back Wednesday. The dynamic 25-year-old has power -- though it hasn't quite shown this year in the form of homers -- and he can steal bases. Eaton is capable of winning fantasy championships down the stretch for owners who stayed loyal. He's batting .354 with a .907 OPS in 232 plate appearances since June 7.
National League Quick Hits: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (thumb) could be activated as soon as Friday … Clayton Kershaw surrendered only an unearned run across eight innings Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks, lowering his ERA to 1.73 … Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a solo home run in Wednesday’s win over the Nationals … David Wright (neck, shoulder) remained out of the Mets’ starting lineup Wednesday … Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen picked up his 100th career save on Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks … Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with left elbow inflammation … Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) is expected to return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation Sunday or Monday … Billy Hamilton stole his 50th base of the season on Wednesday night … Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright revealed Wednesday that he's been going through a "dead arm" phase … Buster Posey slugged a walkoff homer Wednesday to beat the Rockies ... Mark Melancon converted his 24th save of the season Wednesday as the Pirates topped the Cardinals … Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was held out of action Wednesday with lower back tightness … Michael Wacha (shoulder) has been cleared to make his first rehab start Sunday at Double-A Springfield … Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is day-to-day with a sore right calf … Julio Teheran earned his 13th win of the season Wednesday as the Braves beat the Mets … Pedro Alvarez is day-to-day with a sprain between two toes on his left foot … Patrick Corbin (elbow) is not expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks’ rotation until next June … Pirates outfielder Travis Snider is day-to-day with left hamstring discomfort … Joey Votto (quad) took grounders Wednesday … Adrian Gonzalez is day-to-day with a stiff back … Reds closer Aroldis Chapman collected his 28th save in Wednesday’s defeat of the Cubs … Scott Van Slyke left Wednesday’s game with a mild right ankle sprain.
American League Quick Hits: Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin went 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored, and three RBI in Wednesday's 12-4 rout of the Mariners … Xander Bogaerts (concussion) has been cleared to return to the Red Sox active roster on Saturday … Victor Martinez set a new career-high with 26 home runs Wednesday in the Tigers’ loss to the Yankees … Rays closer Jake McGee earned his 15th save of the season in Wednesday’s win over the Orioles … Alex Rios admitted Wednesday that his bruised thumb is still an issue, but he doesn’t plan to miss any games … Manny Machado underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a partially-torn ligament in his right knee … Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits and two stolen bases Wednesday in a win over the Tigers … Marcus Stroman allowed just one earned run over 7 2/3 innings Wednesday as the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox … Zach Putnam earned a one-out save Wednesday as the White Sox topped the Indians … A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie (finger) is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend … Royals optioned struggling reliever Aaron Crow to Triple-A Omaha … Astros closer Chad Qualls took his fifth blown save Wednesday versus the A’s … Yankees signed outfielder Chris Young to a minor league contract … Blue Jays starters Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey have both been placed on revocable waivers … Shane Green improved to 4-1 after holding the Tigers to two runs over seven innings Wednesday in a Yankees victory … Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple Wednesday in a win over the Twins … Rusney Castillo has obtained a work visa and can now play in minor league games … A’s fill-in closer Eric O'Flaherty finally recorded his first career save in Wednesday’s defeat of the Astros.