By Alexander Pancoe
My Cubs have struggled with their regular season play for the past few years – only once in six years have they posted a record over .500. Currently sitting at 64-82, drowning in the deep end of the NL Central standings, there is no chance of seeing the Cubs in the pennant race this October. But it’s not all bad news for us; quietly, the team has been developing new talent that should help in the coming years. Right now, the Cubs enjoy great play from a young infield led by Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, starting pitchers Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, and recently called-up minor league stars Javy Baez and Jorge Soler. Could the best days still be ahead?
Widely considered a power-hitter with great potential to fit into the Cubs long-term rebuilding plan, Soler smashed one out of the park on his first at-bat last month: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24683400/video-cubs-jorge-soler-goes-deep-in-first-mlb-at-bat
Advancing through the minors earlier this year, Soler notched a .340 batting average, 15 home runs and 57 RBIs in just 62 games. It should come as no surprise, then, that he signed a nine-year, $30 million contract back in 2012. His ability to stay healthy is of some concern, though, as he endured a couple of hamstring injuries in the minors. That said, the future could be bright for the Cubs. With smart free agent acquisitions in the off-season, they can return to the NL Central as contenders rather than journeymen next year.