Through the first eleven games of this season, Jorge Soler batted an anemic .143 with only two multiple base hits. It was a head scratching performance for last year’s World Series MVP, who cranked out three home runs in that six game title series alone to help the Atlanta Braves bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Questions were raised about the outfielder’s position in the lineup. Much of the concern centered around the three-year, $36 million dollar deal that the Marlins gave Soler to bring him to Miami. Some suggested Soler might be more suited for a seventh or eighth slot rather than his usual third spot. It was a gloomy beginning to his Marlins debut and many were unsure if he could produce the way he used to.
That’s baseball though. A lot of people don’t realize it’s a 162-game long season (albeit shortened by a lockout this year). Everyone is going to hit a slump. And it’s no surprise that Soler’s came after changing teams during a lockout which significantly shortened Spring Training. He only took 16 at-bats this spring before suiting up for Opening Day.
Fast forward to May 17th and the Marlins have now played 35 games, a much larger sample size. Soler is batting a much-improved slash line of .195/.287/.391 and it’s getting better every game.
The 2019 American League home run champion hit five home runs in the month of May bringing his season total to seven, the same amount as the National League MVP frontrunner, San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado. Soler’s also brought in twelve RBIs (runners batted in) this month, double his April total already, with almost two weeks to go. The Cuban-born righty is riding a seven-game hit streak into Tuesday night’s game which he’ll try to sustain against the Washington Nationals.
How was Soler able to ignore the negativity and get back on track? By utilizing something a lot of baseball fans need a lesson in, patience. Soler credits breaking out of his slump to his commitment to the routine, which for him meant waking up, strapping on the gloves, and getting to work.
“Just doing a persistent job, doing things I was doing in the cage consistently, working in the cage,” Soler said via an interpreter. “Things are coming right in place now.”
It was inevitable that Soler would find his swing at some point this season, but it seems that he’s back in the saddle as the 16-19 Marlins battle to get back over .500. Jorge Soler will take the plate again, hoping to continue his hitting exhibition, on Tuesday night against the visiting Washington Nationals at LoanDepot Park at 6:40 p.m. EST.