JUPITER, Fla.—The Jorge Soler era began on Saturday with the free agent signing batting in the leadoff spot for the Marlins and bringing pure offense. Soler went 2-for-2 (two singles) in the first inning alone as the Marlins batted around against Steven Matz, including Jesús Aguilar hitting a 3-run homer and RBI’s from Jacob Stallings and Jazz Chisholm Jr. The Marlins collected an easy win over the Cardinals, 9-2.
Matz couldn’t even complete the first inning on his own. The Cardinals used the flexible spring training rules to bring him back for the next inning, but the final line says it all: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR (54 pitches).
Another story is Trevor Rogers and his 3 innings of work. Making his 2022 Grapefruit League debut after previously pitching on the backfields, he struck out one, walked one, and gave up only one big homer to Paul Goldschmidt towards the end of his outing. Rogers had good command, but his pure stuff was not as special as usual—the left-hander’s average fastball velocity was 93.9 mph (had been 94.5 last season) and his secondary pitches got very few swinging strikes.
Elieser Hernandez came in to piggyback Rogers for 3 innings of work. He was almost perfect, striking out 3 batters and throwing around 90-93 mph with his fastball and finding success with his slider. Hernandez located 78.8% of his pitches for strikes.
The big story you all are wanting to hear more about is Jorge Soler. Overall, he went 3-for-4 as he singled all three times and struck out once. Soler was in left field and made a couple solid catches defensively. This is a good sign that Soler will be ready for the start of the regular season despite waiting late into the offseason to sign his contract.
Soler also showed his athleticism, reaching a Sprint Speed of 27.4 ft/sec in the opening inning (MLB average is 27.0). He scored again in the 4th, running from 1st to home on a Garrett Cooper double to the right-center gap.
Everyone in the Miami starting lineup got on base either through a hit or walk. If this is the type of offense we see throughout most of the season, the Marlins are in great shape and can be a big-time contender in the NL and challenge the other teams who have also greatly improved.
Next up, the Marlins host Lewis Brinson and the Astros on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.