Coming into the 2019 MLB season, the over-under for Jorge Soler home runs was set at 15.5. He hit the over on June 6, a fine start to a pivotal season for the 27-year-old, but had an OBP under .300 and his wRC+ was a measly 101.
Soler responded by being one of the 10 best hitters in baseball. Since June 6, only eight hitters in baseball have a wRC+ higher than his 153 mark. Only Mike Trout, Eugenio Suarez, and Josh Donaldson have more home runs in that time span than Soler’s 28.
Since June 6, Soler has a .600 SLG% in 361 plate appearances. George Brett’s 1980 MVP campaign is the only other time a Royals hitter has slugged better than .600 over at least 350 plate appearances. When looking at xwOBA, the list of hitters that have been better than Soler since the beginning of June gets smaller.
List of hitters with a better xwOBA than Jorge Soler since the beginning of June (among 141 hitters with at least 200 plate appearances)— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) September 12, 2019
Soler continued his dominance at the plate last night, serving up two more homers, a double, and driving in four runs in an 8-6 Royals win. His second home run in the 8th provided the winning runs.
The Royals finally got their first 40 home run hitter back on September 4, but Soler hasn’t slowed down since and could flirt with a 50 home run season, if he can stay hot. Right now, he is projected to get to 48 home runs. To get to 50, he needs to hit seven more home runs over the final 16 games. He had the first double-digit home run month of his career in August, hitting 10, and would need to finish September with 12 homers to get to 50.
It’s a long shot, but Soler already has five homers in nine games this month, so it’s not impossible.
He will have a tough task today, as the White Sox send Lucas Giolito to the mound. Soler has just one homer off of Giolito on his career, hitting .077 against the hard-throwing righty. The Royals will send Jorge Lopez to the mound, who pitched six shutout innings in a win against the Marlins last week. It was the first time this season that he didn’t give up a run in one of his starts.
Here are your lineups for this afternoon’s action. Adalberto Mondesi and Alex Gordon get the day off: