The rumors around the internets are that Jorge Soler is a bigger trading block now that the Cubs have acquired Jason Heyward, the basic implication is that he's an unnecessary piece of the outfield puzzle. The most popular speculative option is that he is traded to the Atlanta Braves for Ender Inciarte. Inciarte was just recently traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the epic Shelby Miller trade.
So I decided to compare notes with the help of Fangraphs information.
Let's compare 2015 seasons along with the 2016 Steamer Projections.
Here is Ender Inciarte's stats:
And here are Jorge Soler's stats:
The first thing I noticed is that they both have very similar overall WAR projections with Inciarte slighly better at 1.3 vs Soler's 1.2.
A closer look at 2015 shows that Inciarte had a pretty good season with a 3.3 WAR and Soler had a pretty disappointing one with a .1 WAR. Ouch! Okay, maybe I do see why fans are calling for Soler's head??
In 2015 Inciarte played in 132 games with 561 plate appearances hit 6 Home runs, Scored 73, and batted in 45. Plus he had 21 Stolen bases. In comparison Soler played in 101 games with 404 plate appearances, hit 10 home runs, scored 39 runs and only had 3 stole bases. So Soler has more power and Inciarte has more speed.
Looking at walks and strikeouts, Inciarte had 4.6% walk rate vs. Soler's 7.9% but then Soler struck out 30% of the time vs Inciarte's 10.3% of the time! So Inciarte needs to get a bit more discerning at the plate when it comes to walks. Because of so few walks Inciarte's on base percentage is .338 vs .324 for Soler.
I guess if the Cubs are looking for defense and a guy that will strike out less often then Inciarte is a good choice! But Soler clearly has more power since he hit more 4 more home runs in 157 less plate appearances.
After looking at the numbers I'm honestly torn. I think that Soler has HUGE potential that he hasn't tapped into yet but he also has been plagued by injuries. He definitely has a strong arm and I've seen him throw out runners at home plate, but I've also seen him take terrible routes while tracking fly balls.
I'd like to see Soler stick around for at least one more season. But, I think it's valid to not want the bookends of the outfield to be defensive liabilities. Steamer projects 18 home runs for Soler in 2016 I just hope they are while he wears a Cub's uniform! My vote is to stick with Soler at least until the July trade deadline. Right now if it ain't really broke then don't fix it, or at least don't trade position player for position player. If Soler can get a quality starting pitcher than yeah the Cubs probably should take that offer!