The news that Jorge Soler would be called up to the big leagues for the first time sent the Cubs Twitterverse into a frenzy Monday night. This has been the summer of late-night breaking news, incidentally; the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade first hit Twitter around the same time of the evening. Makes for interesting evenings, anyway.
The conversation, both here and on Twitter, got silly. Some people decided they'd "blame" Carrie Muskat for "holding back" Soler for an extra day, even though his callup for Wednesday had certainly been decided, and not by Carrie, before the news even broke.
Then there was the BCB commenter who said the Cubs would break the team record for runs scored in 2016.
Uh... really? Did this person even look to see what the team record for runs is?
The most runs a Cubs team has scored in recent years is 855, in 2008. I'd certainly settle for approaching that total; in the expansion era (1962, since the 162-game schedule has been in effect), the Cubs have scored 800 or more runs exactly three times: 1970 (806), 1998 (831), and 2008.
So slow down a bit. This is exciting news, no doubt about it, but it's not going to make the Cubs the offensive juggernaut of all time.
I'm going to put even more of a wet blanket on this callup, which will likely be effected by placing Justin Ruggiano on the disabled list. Unlike some recent DL moves, Ruggiano appears to be actually injured (there, I said it). With Soler already on the 40-man roster, and his upcoming possible opt-out, there's simply no reason not to call him up now.
But if you're expecting him to suddenly be a savior, remember this: Soler has yet to play a full minor-league season due to injuries. His complete minor-league totals approximate one full season: 544 at-bats. In those at-bats he's hit .307/.383/.551 with 43 doubles, 28 home runs, 66 walks and 105 strikeouts.
Those are really good numbers. But Soler is still, to me, quite a raw talent. He's barely two years out of Cuba, and is only 22 years old. He's got to be still learning American culture as well as American baseball. It's true that other Cubans of similar age and talent -- Yasiel Puig comes to mind -- have had immediate success in the major leagues.
With Soler's injuries and intermittent playing time, I'm still wondering what kind of player he'll be. As with Javier Baez, I think it's a good thing that he's being called up now, to get a month's worth of playing time in a low-pressure situation. He might struggle a bit at times, as many players do in their first big-league appearances, as Baez has done at times (in between the home runs to Waveland). He'll likely strike out a fair amount, though less often than Baez, and walk a bit more often than Baez.
It's also a good thing, I think, that Soler (as were Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks) is going to play his first big-league Cubs game on the road. Let him settle in for a few days before making his Wrigley Field debut.
So while this is an exciting development, in and of itself it's not going to make the Cubs an instant contender. Let's just enjoy watching five weeks' worth of Soler this year and see what the team does this offseason to augment the recent callups (as well as the anticipated debut of Kris Bryant next year).
Yes, it's exciting. Yes, I've already said I feel differently about this team now. Let's take it one step at a time and not hyperventilate, though. Get excited... just don't get all silly.