The news came late tonight.
Soler was pulled after hitting a three-run home run in the top of the third inning. I suspect the timing was coincidental as you don't make the decision to promote a player based on one at-bat. Still, it was nice for Soler to leave the minor leagues with a bang.
The Cubs signed Soler as a free agent out of Cuba to a nine-year, $30 million contract in July 2012. It was expected that the now 22-year-old Soler would need some development time in the minor leagues, although that time was expected to be short. But injuries last season limited him to 63 games and 54 games this year. So while his time in the minors was longer than expected, the number of games he actually played down in the minors was about what was expected.
Despite the injuries, Soler's ranking among prospects did not change much. He was ranked the 34th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America after the 2012 season and the 41st best after last season. Soler is a prototypical right fielder with a strong arm and massive right-handed power. He's also shown an advanced approach at the plate as he's walked 66 times in 621 plate appearances in the minors and has only struck out 105 times. At all levels in the minors, his triple-slash stats were .306/.383/.546 (not counting tonight's 1 for 2 with a home run).
Calling up Soler now would allow him to adjust to major league pitching in September and hopefully see him get any struggles out of the way now instead of in April. There is some risk in calling up Soler now as he does have the right to opt out of his contract once he becomes arbitration eligible. If his major league production is anything like what his minor league performance suggests is possible, he'll definitely be opting out before the 2018 season.
Of course, that's a happy problem for the Cubs to have. But for now, all you need to know is that the next building block of the future has arrived at Wrigley. (At least once the team gets back from Cincinnati.)