We used to be inundated with the corniest commercials from McDonald’s. Ha! Gotta love the ’80s. But they worked, as people flocked and continue to flock to their establishments for the Big Mac. It’s estimated that close to 1 billion Big Macs are sold yearly around the globe. There was a time when each McDonald’s sign would show the number of people served. I remember when it was in the millions. Now they don’t even bother. It’s like when someone has F U money. There’s no need to count anymore and you look like an a-hole to everyone else if you do. With that said, it hasn’t been all good for McDonald’s, as there have been numerous failures throughout their history: McLobster Roll, Hula Burger, McPizza, McSpaghetti, Mc HotDog, and McDLT. Now, Nick Solak of the Texas Rangers has been en fuego to begin his major league career. Will he force MLB to produce Big Solak Attack commericals or will he go the way of the McDLT?
Solak is 24 years old, 5′ 11″ 190 pounds, and bats from the right side. He was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft. In 2018, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2019, Solak was then traded to the Texas Rangers.
Throughout his minor league career, Solak had a strikeout rate around 18-19% with a walk rate above 10%. He hit for average, displayed pop, stole bases, and maintained an elevated BABIP. In 2018, when he played Double-A ball for the Rays, Solak clubbed 19 home runs and stole 21 bases.
Since arriving to the majors on August 20th, Solak has played 21 games and accrued 87 plate appearances. The strikeout rate has been 20.7% while the walk rate has been 12.6%. Those numbers are consistent with his minor league track record. He’s hit 3 home runs, stolen 1 bases, scored 16 runs, and driven in 13. The ISO has been .208 and he’s hit .347, but that’s been fueled by a .431 BABIP. Regression will likely come, but the overall profile seems consistent with his history. Let’s see if we can glean anything from digging deeper.
The GB/FB rate has been 2. Looking at his minor league numbers, he’s had a high ratio, so this isn’t too alarming. He’s pulling the ball 40.7% and going up-the-middle 37% of the time. Solak has never had a pull rate above 45%, so once again nothing out of the ordinary.
The contact rates are above average: 85.7% in the zone and 76.6% in general. The swinging strike rate is only 9.2% while the chase rate is 25.5%. I don’t have access to the minor league numbers for those categories, but they are excellent numbers regardless.
As for splits, he hits both lefties and righties well, but most of his power comes against lefties. The ISO is .367 against lefties and .095 against righties.
The most intriguing aspect regarding Solak is that he’s hitting in the heart of the order, as the Rangers have slotted him at clean up for 11 of the past 12 games.
Luck should even out for Solak eventually, but the sample size has been and will continue to be relatively small the rest of the season, so it’s within the range of outcomes that he continues on this heater. With that said, some regression is in store, but the overall hitting profile for Solak indicates that if it indeed does comes, the decline won’t be too severe, as he has good awareness of the strike zone and doesn’t flail away.