Jorge Soler was having an excellent start to the season for the Class-A Daytona Cubs. But on Wednesday night, he ensured the start of his season would be remembered for a much more troubling incident.
It only took Daytona's Jorge Soler a few seconds to make it from his dugout to that of the Clearwater Threshers following the seventh inning of his team's 14-9 extra-inning loss Wednesday night.
But considering the fact that Soler—a 21-year-old who was given a nine-year, $30-million contract by the Cubs last year—was wielding a bat as he charged across the field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Daytona manager Dave Keller said those few seconds were “kind of like a nightmare.”
Soler was caught by teammates near the Threshers' dugout, and he never swung the bat. But the heralded prospect was ejected following the incident, and Keller said he did not know if there would be further punishment from the Cubs or the Florida State League.
There should most definitely be additional punishment. Had Soler actually been able to reach his intended target and took a swing, he could've—and should've, for that matter—been charged with assault. Few things are less acceptable in baseball than wielding a bat as a weapon.
According to Linder's report, Soler and Clearwater's Carlos Alonso had words and had to be separated after Soler slid into second base and Alonso ended up briefly laying on top of him after an apparent collision.
That initial confrontation led to Soler later charging out of the dugout with his bat.
Soler is one of the brightest young stars in the Cubs' farm system, and according to ESPN he is hitting .435 with two home runs and a 1.258 OPS this year. Alongside last year's No. 6 pick Albert Almora and Javier Baez, Arodys Vizcaino, Brett Jackson and Pierce Johnson, Soler headlines a promising crop of talented prospects.
And with young studs already in the majors like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, the future is bright for the Cubbies.
The present hasn't been so bright, of course, as the team has lost five of its first eight games. And now, Soler will always carry questions about his temper and demeanor, and the Cubs are going to have to monitor his behavior moving forward.
It's one thing to lose your cool and get in a scrap with an opponent—anyone who has ever played a sport likely has been there—but it's quite another thing entirely to reach for a bat and charge the opposing dugout. At that point, it's no longer a bat—it's a weapon, and that makes this incident pretty scary.
I don't want to be overly dramatic—Soler's teammates stopped him before any damage was done, and while Soler's intent seems clear, perhaps he would have ultimately come to his senses before actually striking anyone.
But Soler will now have a major red flag next to his name, a disappointment considering his torrid start and the expectations the team has for his future. He had the look of a star. He still does, but now it's a star that potentially carries character concerns.
That's a reputation the young Cuban will now have to work to change.
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