Jorge Soler looked like a bust in the major leagues until last year when he won the American League home-run title with the Kansas City Royals. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Soler’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Jorge Soler MLB Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
The Cubs won a bidding war for Soler in the summer of 2012 and signed the Dominican to a nine-year, $30 million major-league contract. Soler had always shown major power promise with the Cubs, but they essentially gave up on him in December 2016 by sending Soler to the Kansas City Royals for closer Wade Davis. In three seasons with the Cubs, Soler batted .258 with 27 home runs and 98 RBIs.
“I think there’s some great baseball ahead for him,” team president Theo Epstein said after trading Soler to Kansas City. “I think it’s more likely that he reaches his ceiling now than it was 24 hours ago, because he’s got a chance to play every day.”
Epstein was right … it just took a few more years. Soler didn’t play much in 2017 or 2018 for Kansas City, but he exploded last year to lead the American League with 48 homers while also knocking in 117.
He was the first Royal to ever lead the AL in homers. In fact, the 48 homers were 10 more than the previous single-season franchise record of 38, set by Mike Moustakas in 2017. Soler is now one of three active players to hold his current team’s single-season homer record, joining Baltimore’s Chris Davis (53 in 2013) and the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso (53 in 2019).
In addition, Soler’s 48 home runs were one more than Rafael Palmeiro (47 HR in 1999 and 2001) for the most in a single season in Major League history by a Cuban-born player. Soler was one of five AL players with 48 HR since 2010, joining Khris Davis (48, 2018), Aaron Judge (52, 2017), Davis (53, 2013) & Jose Bautista (54, 2010).
At home, Soler’s 21 homers matched Chili Davis (21 in 1997) and Dean Palmer (21 in 1980) for the most in one season in the 47-season history of Kauffman Stadium. Soler’s 117 RBIs were the seventh most in Royals history and the most since 2000 (Mike Sweeney club-record 144, Jermaine Dye 118).
One of the most significant changes for Jorge Soler between 2019 and the rest of his career was opportunity. He was penciled into the lineup every day, and he stayed healthy. The percentage of balls he hit hard was a career-high at 46.7 percent, while the percentage of balls he hit softly was a career-low at 13 percent. His strikeout rate of 26.2 was his best as a Royal and lower than his career rate.
To avoid arbitration this offseason, the Royals and Soler agreed on a one-year, $7.3 million deal and it includes incentives valued at $50,000 for an All-Star Game appearance and $100,000 if Soler wins the 2020 Hank Aaron Award. Jorge, 28, was initially able to file for arbitration because of a provision in his contract that he signed originally with the Cubs in 2012 that allowed him to opt out of the deal after the 2018 season for arbitration. Soler made $4 million with the Royals in 2019.
Still, the Royals remain interested in signing Soler to a long-term deal.
“Just because we exchange numbers doesn’t mean we can’t eventually do a multiyear deal,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “There’s no deadline on that.”
Was last year a fluke? This spring before the MLB shutdown, Jorge Soler had shown plenty of power with two doubles, two homers and four RBI, but he was hitting just .172 (5-for-29) with an awful 14/3 K/BB ratio.