2020 Fantasy Baseball: This Year’s Jorge Soler

by Joe Bond
This Year's Jorge Soler

It is no secret that Jorge Soler was an incredible find late in drafts last season. Just to remind you how much of a value he was, his ADP was close to 300. That is free folks. So who will this year's Jorge Soler be? Well, let's dig into some more of just how good Soler was and why he was such a value.

Last season Soler came in as a once highly touted prospect that just couldn't stay healthy and when he did he was a strikeout machine.

Now as Tyler Thompson mentioned in his post about who would be this year's Max Muncy last season, Soler was just starting to show signs of life in 2018 but a toe injury shut him down. Again with the injuries.

Still, it should not have been too surprising to see a power surge as he had. OK maybe 48 home runs is surprising, but we all should have seen a breakout in the power department coming. We didn't though. So what changed?

Soler 2018 vs 2019

*rank in parenthesis

YearBarrelsBarrel %Exit VelocityLaunch AngleHard Hit %
201816 (207th)10.3 (74th)89.5 (112th)10.9 (240th)41.3 (101st)
201970 (1st)16.9 (7th)92.6 (11th)15.4 (63rd)49.9 (10th)

Now, of course, the numbers that are totals on the year in 2018 are lower due to him only playing in 61 games. However, you can see from the percentages alone he made a huge jump in 2019.

Can Soler repeat his 2019? Probably not, he was extraordinarily good. But that isn't what the real question that you want answered so let's get to it.

This Year's Jorge Soler

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Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees

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Could this finally be the year Frazier gets unleashed? We'll soon find out. It at least appears that he will start the season in right field with both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the IL. There is no telling how long each will be out. On to Frazier though.

It is rather sickening how similar the two are when you compare Soler's 2018 to Frazier's 2019. Barrels, Barrel %, Exit Velocity are all similar. Frazier does have him beat already in the launch angle if you are comparing those seasons, but guess what? Frazier's launch angle in 2018 was the same as Soler's in 2019.

Frazier is climbing up draft boards but is still cheap at an ADP of 339 overall. This is because we don't know if/when Judge/Stanton will return. I say if you want to take him with one of your last picks go for it. What do you have to lose?

Ian Happ, 2B, Chicago Cubs

Ian Happ is another top prospect that has not gotten his full chance to play. That too might change this season as he is in position to be the Cubs' everyday center fielder.

After hitting 11 home runs in 156 major league at-bats he is poised to be a primary candidate for a breakout in the power department.

He too has the skill set that the pre-2019 Soler and Frazier have when they make contact with the ball. In fact, if you look deeper Happ might be better than pre-2019 Soler. His Barrel % was higher in 2019 than Soler's was in 2018 and his launch angle was already what Soler's was in 2019.

Happ's strikeout rate is better too. The thing Happ needs to do a better job of is hit the ball a tad harder and we could be looking at the next 40+ home run hitter.

Tyler O'Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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We all know O'Neill has the raw power. This is proven by 140 home runs in 566 minor league games.

Unfortunately, it has not fully translated to the major league level. He simply strikeouts too much, 40% and 35% in his two stints with the Cards, for his power to be unleashed.

O'Neill has more than just that going against him. He is in a full-on position battle for a starting outfield position. If he can win it and keep his strikeouts to around 30% or less, a 40 home run season is easily within reach for him. We are talking about a guy whose barrels, barrel %, launch angle and hard-hit rate already are among the best in the game.

Nick Solak, 3B/DH, Texas Rangers

Solak is one of the most interesting players entering 2020. He officially lost out the starting center field job to 2019 breakout player Danny Santana. He still might have a spot in the starting lineup though, with Willie Calhoun suffering a fractured jaw on March 8. Calhoun was hit in the face by a 95mph fastball from Julio Urias.

Solak has power, proven by 46 home runs in his last 241 games in the minors. Still, though he has a lot of room to go. His Barrel % and launch angle leave a lot to be desired. I, however, expect that to improve and quickly.

He is just too good a hitter for poor contact to continue. His plate discipline, even in his short stint up in the majors in 2019 showed that. He only struck out 21.5% of the time, while he walked 11.1% of the time. Pretty amazing for a then 24-year-old rookie.

Playing time is the biggest obstacle still, but if he can get it we're about to see one hell of a breakout player.

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content as the 2020 season approaches.

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