Jorge Soler did not have a good April. His season-opening slump quickly stirred up pessimism among fans that the Marlins had yet again whiffed on one of their premium offseason acquisitions. But something clicked offensively for Soler as soon as May arrived. Even as the team’s overall performance has slipped (7-19 record this month), the Cuban stud is doing his part.
In April, Soler was a disappointing hitter that posted a .171/.284/.303 slash line over 20 games. He was 13-for-76 with four doubles, two home runs, six runs batted in, 25 strikeouts, and a poor .587 OPS which was well below his career mark of .795.
Most of his peripherals in the first month of the regular season weren’t too encouraging either. See below how they compared to September 2021, Soler’s final month with the Braves:
Average exit velocity: 88.0 MPH (90.3 MPH in Sept. 2021)
Barrel rate: 7.8% (10.3%)
BABIP: .224 (.284)
That all changed almost immediately since the first day of May. Including Monday’s loss against the Rockies, Soler is averaging .253/.330/.609 across 23 games (22-for-87). He has carried the entire Marlins lineup at times, registering four doubles and nine home runs this month (team-leading 13 extra-base hits), along with 19 ribbies and 13 runs. While Soler has struck out 25 times, he’s also drawn nine walks. The 30-year-old outfielder has had a nine-game hitting streak, a multi-homer game, and a four-RBI game.
Soler’s peripherals are telling a similarly positive story:
Average exit velocity: 94.3 MPH
Barrel rate: 20.3%
Soler is hitting 47.5 percent of his balls up in the air (FB%). Plus, his HardHit% went from 41.2 to 49.2. His Isolated Power has nearly tripled month-to-month, from .132 to .356.
The overall numbers are now where they’re supposed to be for the $36 million man. Soler has become the Marlins’ leader in home runs (11) and is on pace for 39 long balls, which would be the third-highest single-season total in franchise history—Giancarlo Stanton had 59 in 2017 and Gary Sheffield had 42 in 1996.
Soler’s nine dingers in May are the most by a Marlin during the cited month since Justin Bour launched 11 in 2017. All across the National League, there aren’t many more dangerous hitters right now. He is just a notch below the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and the Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt (established superstars making about doubled his salary).
Soler has begun to look like a good signing for the Marlins. Now, it’s time for them to take advantage of his production and get some wins.