Soler's resurgence leads Sox over Scorpions
Cubs' No. 3 prospect delivers three hits, two RBIs to slow Scottsdale
Jorge Soler hadn't been slumping, exactly, in the Arizona Fall League. After missing the final two months of the regular season with a stress fracture in his left tibia, Soler began the fall on a seven-game hitting streak. But through his first seven games he was hitting just .229 and didn't look like same prospect who was ranked No. 25 on MLB.com's Top 100 list.
A few days off changed all of that. Soler went 3-for-4 Thursday in Mesa's 7-4 victory against Scottsdale at Hohokam Stadium. The loss snapped the Scorpions' five-game winning streak.
Soler said the Solar Sox coaching staff wanted him to take a few days off. He came back feeling better and was pleased with the results.
"I feel really good," said Soler with Cubs teammate Albert Almora translating. "I haven't had three hits in a game in a long time"
Soler's last three-hit game came on May 17 when he was playing with Class A Advanced Daytona. He actually had two that day, going 4-for-4 in the first game of a doubleheader against Lakeland and 3-for-6 in the second.
About a month later, the stress fracture forced Soler to go on the disabled list. He missed the rest of Daytona's season, but he's healthy enough to be playing in the AFL.
Soler said he doesn't yet feel fully healthy, but his goal is to be back to normal when the fall season ends next month.
"Physically, I'm still not 110 percent because it feels like I don't have enough strength in my legs," he said. "I'm working hard every day to get stronger."
Soler began his big game with a two-out, two-run single to tie the game in the first inning. He added a hit in the third and another in the fourth.
By then, the Solar Sox had pulled ahead for good. They took the lead in the second inning when A's top prospect Addison Russell doubled and Nats No. 1 prospect Brian Goodwin drove him in with a single.
Goodwin finished the game 2-for-5 with a run. Angels prospect C.J. Cron went 3-for-5 with a home run.
Scottsdale took an early lead Thursday. Mason Williams, the Yankees' No. 2 prospect, led off the game with a single, and Bucs prospect Alen Hanson followed with a home run. But Solar Sox starter Dallas Beeler settled into the game and didn't give up another run in four innings.
Tommy La Stella hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, and a pair of wild pitches allowed Hanson to score in the eighth inning, but the Scorpions could get no closer.
Hanson finished the game 2-fo-4 with two runs. His Pirates teammate Alex Dickerson, their No. 13 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a double.
In the end, however, it was the Solar Sox who hit their way to another victory. They have the highest scoring offense in the AFL, thanks in part to the contributions of the Cubs' No. 2-4 prospects -- Almora, Soler and Kris Bryant.
Only Soler was in the lineup Thursday, but now that he is back on track, he said he hopes to finish the fall strong with his Cubs teammates.
"I want to keep hitting well and to see better pitching," Soler said. "And I want to finish the year and be 110 percent [recovered] from the injuries."