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Jorge Soler | OF, Cubs | Born:  2/25/1992

On Monday, the Cubs finalized terms with Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler.  The $30 million contract will span nine years, and on the front-end, it appears to be a fantastic deal for the Cubs.  The long term nature of the signing puts zero pressure on Chicago to rush the 20-year-old to the bigs.  They’ll be able to develop him gradually, to ease him into stateside baseball.  After this signing, plus a nice take at last week’s draft, and then assuming the pieces they’ll fetch in trades for Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, the rebuilding efforts of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are clearer than ever.  Were I a Cubs fan, I’d be giddy about the future.  I’m not.  No, I’m a Cardinals fan and I loathe the damn Cubs, so this all frightens me a bit.  Nonetheless, here’s a little of what to expect from the Northsiders’ newest prospect:

Standing  6-3, 225, Soler profiles as a big, athletic corner outfielder.  Plus arm strength makes right field his  most likely destination, but he’ll spend time at all three outfield posts on his way through the minors.  The real attraction here is the bat.  Soler’s ability to hit for average is the most debated tool in his arsenal.  Some think he’ll fare ok in that regard, and some think the whiffs will pile up and he’ll struggle.  No one, however, denies his power potential.  Soler possesses raw power, which many liken to that of Giancarlo Stanton.  That sort of pop will play big in the fantasy game.  The Cubs will be patient with him, though.  They’ll keep him in Arizona for instructional ball for a good month before they send him to A-ball (probably Low-A Peoria).  If everything goes as planned, Soler arrives at Wrigley sometime in 2014.

Andrew Chafin | LHP, D’Backs | Born:  6/17/1990

A Diamondbacks pitching prospect leads Minor League Baseball in strikeouts, but it’s not the one you’d think.  It’s not even the second one you’d think.  What I’m trying to say is that a D’Backs pitcher who is not named Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs leads the minors in K’s.  Andrew Chafin is his name, actually, and he’s been quite good in 2012.  And while he’s not a prospect of the same caliber as Bauer or Skaggs, Chafin is certainly worth knowing.

At 6-2, 205, he looks like a power lefty, and with a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s, I suppose it’d be accurate to label him as such.  Chafin’s best weapon, however, is not the heater, but rather a nasty slider that has been devastating California League hitters all year long.  The sweeping slide piece has tremendous horizontal break, but offers plenty of vertical tilt as well.  It’s unquestionably a plus-plus pitch, and it’s no wonder that Chafin has been racking up K’s to the tune of 11.7/9 with that filth in his arsenal.  The lefty also features a decent changeup — a pitch some scouts see developing into an above-average offering.

Arizona has been patient with Chafin to this point.  While at Kent State, he missed all of 2010 to Tommy John surgery, but recovered nicely for 2011 and wound up 43rd overall in last year’s draft.  After only throwing one pro inning last year, the D’Backs placed him at High-A Visalia to begin 2012.  Chafin’s been there since, and while his 3.78 ERA isn’t the prettiest figure on his season line, his FIP reflects much more favorably at 2.65.  Also, the Cali League is notoriously tough on pitchers.  By my estimation, Chafin is in for a bump up to Double-A soon, and he should be ready for the bigs sometime next year.  He doesn’t project quite like a fantasy ace, but big time K-potential and the ability to help across multiple categories should make him a nice piece in any format.

From Around The Web

  1. Mike says:
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    Honestly, Arizona does not have enough room for all their pitchings prospects. Bauer, Skaggs, Chafin, Holmberg (could take over k lead with next start) and Corbin. Oh BTW they have a few decent young arms already in rotation…This is a nightmare trying to figure out which one’s to peg in keeper leagues…..

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Mike, And don’t forget about Archie Bradley — he might have the highest ceiling of the bunch. Certainly a nice problem to have from Arizona’s perspective.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Mike, …oh, and Bauer/Skaggs/Bradley are the ones to target. Chafin and Holmberg aren’t far behind, but Corbin isn’t really keeper league material.

  2. TheNewGuy says:
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    Any more word on The Incredible Hultz?

    Seems Milwood might be able to make his start but they’ve still got a bunch of makeweight starters in Noesi and Beaven.

    Whats your hunch say out of the quickest to reach the majors out of Hultzen and Bauer.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Nothing new on Hultzen. Coin flip on his race to the bigs vs. Bauer. OK: Hultzen = Heads, Bauer = Tails.

      /flips coin

      Heads it is.

      In all seriousness, I think Hultzen’s opportunity will come first, but who knows.

  3. TheNewGuy says:
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    And Monty’s had another sub-par start…finally cut him for Chafin (or T May) now?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TheNewGuy, What about Jake Odorizzi? He available? Moving up my board this year & not far from bigs.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans, Unfortunately not, I’ve checked. Guys like Kyle Gibson (Twins starter) are available after his TJ surgery. Otherwise other dropped guys: W Peralta, H Iwakuma…not much there…

        Could add a guys like Josh Bell though (Pitsburgh version)?

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans, You still there man?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @TheNewGuy, Indeed I am. Sorry. I try not to drop off to the baseball grid often, but it happens now & again — usually when in the presence of bourbon. Apologies.

          Anyway. I’m ready to support your dumping of Montgomery. Seems like May is your best option to replace him. But what are parameters around picking up new draftees/signees? Perhaps guys like Zimmer or Appel would suit you better?

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans, Our league rules say we can’t take newly drafted guys until our following prospect draft before the season, so guys like Zimmer or Appel aren’t available to be taken just yet which makes sense I think.

            So you’d go May over Chafin, any reason for that? I’ve heard a lot of reports from you on Chafin and how well he’s doing but have heard little on May. Who has the higher upside?

            • TheNewGuy says:
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              @TheNewGuy, Oh and Soler comes into the draftees category too, any player recently signed to a club can only be taken in the following prospect draft.

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              @TheNewGuy, May has control issues, but he has the higher ceiling if he can harness his stuff. If he’s unable to command his stuff, then he’ll still be valuable as a strikeout guy — that’s probably his floor. Chafin is having a breakout year & he’s a bit more topical, which is why you see him discussed more often. He’s climbing prospect boards this year, but there’s more standing in his way than in May’s. May is simply lower risk, if you ask me.

              • TheNewGuy says:
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                @Scott Evans, Thats cool man, makes sense. Thanks for the response.

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