If there’s an obvious knock on Jorge Soler, it’s his defensive skills in the outfield. On Monday, in the game against the Padres, he gave us two big, shiny examples of his lack of defensive prowess.
The first was on a deep ball to left field hit by Jon Jay in the top of the third inning. It looked like Jorge had the ball tracked and was right where he needed to be to make the play. But when the ball came down it completely missed Jorge’s glove, which was down by his waste, and bounded over the wall for a ground-rule double scoring a run in the process.
The second misplay happened in the top of the fifth inning on a line drive hit to left field that Jorge decided to charge and go for rather than focusing on staying in front of the ball, which would have resulted in a single. The ball ended up falling short of the sliding Soler and rolling all the way to the wall turning a single into a sandlot home run. At this point in the game the score was 2-2, with both runs coming off Soler misplays.
To be totally fair, Jorge’s move to left field is a relatively new development that was born only as Dexter Fowler surprised everyone by walking into camp a mere week before the start of Cactus League play. But, Jorge has had defensive issues in the past when he played mostly right field and it’s a fairly well-known issue.
Joe Maddon doesn’t back down from addressing the issue of Jorge’s defense, either. In an interview by the Chicago Tribune Joe said that Jorge “definitely needs to improve.” He also said that they haven’t decided yet how they’re going to divide time in left field between the two obvious choices of Soler and Schwarber.
Joe knows that Jorge is definitely capable of making the defensive improvements needed to be a solid left fielder. Joe stated that “at some point you have the break thorough moment and the epiphany occurs.” Until then, you “avoid avoidance” and keep talking about, and focusing on, the issue.