Cubs’ Jorge Soler shows off cannon arm
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org March 1, 2013 12:23PM
The Chicago Cubs Jorge Soler throws home during an intersquad game at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa, AZ on Thursday, February 21, 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2013 1:45PM
MESA, Ariz. — Big time outfield prospect Jorge Soler’s cannon throw from right field to nail Oakland’s Josh Reddick trying to go first-to-third Thursday was still part of the morning buzz at Cubs camp Friday.
``Very impressive throw. Accurate, too,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ``All his throws … That’s obviously another added plus to a guy with the tools. A lot of times you might have the arm but it’s all over the place. But he’s got a pretty good feel of accuracy, throwing one-hoppers and that. … Even his at-bats. I know he’s been striking out a little bit but at least he’s seeing pitches. It’s not a premeditated-type swing.”
Sveum, who didn’t see much of Soler beyond video until the 20-year-old got to spring training, already seems to have the powerful, 6-foot-4 projected slugger on his radar.
Until 34 games at the low- and mid-Class A levels last year, Soler hadn’t played for a team in about two years, as he waited for residency status after defecting from Cuba.
The lack of pro experience and roughness around the edges is obvious, with six strikeouts in 10 official spring at-bats, to go with a single and a double. But so is the ability the Cubs hope to unlock as quickly as possible – with a towering home run in his first competitive at-bat of the spring, in last week’s intrasquad game, and then Thursday’s throw.
``We know the bat speed, we know the `hittability,’ and the speed,’’ Sveum said. ``Now it’s just seeing how guys react to game situations, their instincts, whether a guy plays out of control. For a young guy, he doesn’t play out of control at all.”
“Seems like they got some young guys that are gonna be studs,” said Cub newcomer Scott Feldman, who was the beneficiary of Soler’s first-inning throw. “That throw he made from right field was about as good a throw as you could probably make. Reddick just had a look of shock on his face.”
Soler is likely to start the season at advanced-A Daytona. Depending how well he does in the first half, he could have the opportunity to finish at AA, which for many players is just a phone call away from the majors.
``You’ve got some young position players that are coming,” Sveum said, ``that are getting close to the radar. Some are on the radar. …”