Place residence

Marlins promote JJ Bleday, place Jorge Soler on injured reserve

The Marlins selected the former first-round pick’s contract JJ Bleday and added it to the active list, by Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald (by Twitter). Adding Bleday to the list comes in response to Jorge Soler going on the 10-day injured list with lower back spasms.

There’s no backdating on Soler’s IL placement, so the veteran slugger will be (at a minimum) out of action until the August 2 trade deadline. Although Miami had several players who could be traded before the deadline, there hadn’t been much noise about the possibility of Soler being traded, which speaks to both Soler’s contract, longer-term plans Marlins and its difficult 2022 season.

Soler, the reigning World Series MVP, signed a three-year, $36 million free agent contract with the Marlins after the lockout. Soler has the option to retire after this season (leaving $24 million on the table) and after the 2023 season (leaving his $9 million salary for 2024 on the table), although Soler seems unlikely. retests free agency on the heels of a disappointing year to date.

Soler hit .207/.295/.400 with 13 homers in 306 plate appearances, with a 99 wRC+ reflecting slightly below average production. Despite the lack of big numbers, there is evidence that Soler could activate it in the second half. After all, it wasn’t until last season that Soler shed a tear after being dealt to the Braves at the deadline, and he more or less carried that hot streak all the way through the World Series.

This year Soler has outstanding hard contact numbers and a .322 xwOBA which is higher than his .305 wOBA, even though that .322 mark is only around the league average. Soler also walks at an above average pace but swings and misses a ton, as his 29.4 percent strikeout rate is only in the ninth percentile of all hitters. Teams play Soler 78% of the time, which stifles his strong contact numbers – Soler has just a .275 wOBA against the quarterback and a whopping .411 wOBA when not facing quarterbacks of work.

Injuries have also played a role in recent weeks, as Soler missed around two weeks in early July with bilateral pelvic inflammation, and only played five games before this latest return to IL. It remains to be seen how much extra time Soler might miss (if more than 10 days), but his absence will open the door to Bleday’s Major League debut.

The fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Bleday hit .229/.365/.470 with 20 homers for 367 AP at Triple-A Jacksonville this season, his first exposure to Triple-A pitching. It’s a nice escape for Bleday, who didn’t hit much in his brief minor league debut in 2019 and then struggled in his first full season of pro ball in 2021. His lack of results l Last year cost Bleday a spot in some top 100 prospect rankings, but MLB Pipeline still had him 69th on their preseason list.

Of course, Bleday hasn’t played at all in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season, so it’s not necessarily surprising that he’s taken a while to get back on track. The 24-year-old’s performance in 2022 has seemingly allayed a lot of questions about his power potential and on-base ability, although Bleday still isn’t hitting for average and is still swinging and missing (99 strikeouts at bat in these 367 PA) at a high pace.

Bleday’s powerful throwing arm made him more of a right-field candidate than his original position in center field, and in Miami, Avisail Garcia could slide to left field to accommodate the rookie’s regular playing time, or Bleday could simply take control of left field himself. With the Marlins possibly already planning towards 2023, Bleday could very well be seen as a potential candidate for an everyday job next year. Assuming Soler doesn’t retire, he and Garcia are longer-term options in the outfield corners, but the DH is also available to juggle playing time on the road.