I was cruising down the Razzball Player Rater streets last night. Aaron Judge. I am standing. Dansby Swanson. Delicious. Trevor Story. An enjoyable read. Then my head swiveled to the tv, as Wheel of Fortune returned from commercial. D_n_van S_lan_ was the puzzle. Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel. I’d like to buy an O. Yes, Donovan Solano is the numero nueve player on the rater! .484/.500/.710 slash with a home run, 13 RBI, and .226 ISO. Where did the O come from? And can it continue?

Solano is 32 years old, 5′ 9″ 195 pounds, and bats from the right side. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as an international free agent back in 2005, which feels like six months ago, and spent seven years in their minor league system. He clubbed a total of 10 home runs in 2382 plate appearances. D_n_van S_lan_ indeed. He stole a few bases each season, the batting average fluctuated from .209 to a high of .317. The ISO surpassed .100 only two times. The walk rate never exceeded 8.3% while the strikeout rate was always good, routinely in the 10-15% range.

In 2012, the Marlins invited Solano to spring training as a non-roster invitee. He played 93 games for the big club that season and had a .295/.342/.375 slash with 2 home runs, 29 runs, 28 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. The walk rate was 6.6% while the strikeout rate was 18.4%. The ISO was .081, while the BABIP was .357. Hmm, not bad, but I think we are beginning to see what kind of player Solano is Mehlano.

In 2016, the Yankees signed Solano to a minor league contract. In two seasons with their Triple-A team, Solano had a 4% walk rate, 14% strikeout rate, the batting average was in the .282-.320 range, and the ISO was above .100 both seasons. Ok, some development.

In 2018, the Dodgers scooped him up after Solano elected for free agency. With their Triple-A club, he had a .318/.353/.430 slash, 4.7% walk rate, 11.8% strikeout rate, .111 ISO, and 4 home runs with 4 stolen bases in 340 plate appearances. The progress and development he showed as a Yankee seems to have stuck.

Last season, Solano signed with the Giants and appeared in 81 games for the big club. .330/.360/.456 slash with 4 home runs, 27 runs, and 23 RBI. The walk rate was 4.4%, strikeout rate was 21.5%, ISO was .126, and the BABIP was .409. Which brings us to the here and now. In 34 plate appearances, 1 home run, 5 runs, 13 RBI, the walk rate is 5.9%, strikeout rate is 8.8%, ISO is .226, and the .500 BABIP is fueling a .484/.500/.710 slash.

The batting average and ISO are going to come down. His history has shown that the ISO will likely be in the low .100s, so don’t expect much power. The Statcast data has the average exit velocity on his hits at 89.4 mph (120th), while the launch angle is at 13.5 degrees (145th). The batting average, though, could be in the .290s. His contact rates are very good (89.3% in the strike zone and 80.8% in general) and the swinging strike rate is a low 8.8%.

Solano has been batting either third or sixth in the Giants lineup and he has an eight-game hitting streak. Did you know that the Giants are 8th in runs scored, 5th in hits, 7th in RBI, and 7th in average? Now you know! Granted, it’s only been 10 games into the season. But, but, but…10 games in a 60 game season is 16%.

With that said, I can’t get behind Mehlano. No power, no speed, and the batting average is obviously going to regress. In addition, he’s chasing 34.8% of pitches outside the strike zone, which is 47th-worst in the league, so the strikeout rate is going to tick up as well.