Today was a day where what we suspected was confirmed…Jorge Soler is freakin huge.
Soler spoke to reporters today. Will blog it. He’s put on muscle. At 242 now. Says still moving well. If it comes together..huge talent.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 2, 2015
The 242 pound number is probably what caught a lot of people off guard. He is listed by the Cubs at 6’4″, 215 pounds. The reality of what happened with Soler this winter is simple. He did not put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle in a few short months. It just didn’t happen. He was most likely 10-15 pounds above that listed weight when the season ended last year, and is at the 242 he claims.
Without going too deep into the physiology of what happened to Soler, there is a simple explanation for how he gained a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. He’s a large man. And he’s a young man. Having just turned 23, Soler is entering his peak athletic years. If Jorge Soler has begun a weight training program that focuses on his entire body, the mass adds up quickly. He very likely added small to moderate amounts of mass to his legs, arms, and torso, and because he’s so big to begin with, the amount of weight he was able to add is greater than what a smaller person would do in the same amount of time.
The Cubs actually have a number of players who could see significant gains, similar to Soler. The first, and most obvious person on that list, is Kris Bryant. He is listed by the Cubs at 6’5″, 215. First, that’s also probably inaccurate. Looking at Kris Bryant would lead me to believe he’s in the neighborhood of 225-230 pounds. And it isn’t fat. Kris Bryant is another very large and very young man. This isn’t new. It’s the first reason cited when we talk about why he’s a candidate to move to the outfield. Bryant also has a frame that can accommodate a significant amount of muscle mass, none of which would cause him any noticeable changes in the way he moves or carries himself on the baseball field. Also being 23 years old, he is in virtually the same situation as Jorge Soler. Believe it or not, both could increase their already awesome power. The thing that may limit what Bryant adds is the fact that he was in a college baseball program for three years and was already working with a strength coach. While he probably didn’t maximize his growth in college, he probably will not gain as much as Soler, who was defecting from Cuba.
Because this is the type of thing I get really excited about, the player who we should most keep an eye on is 18 year old Eloy Jimenez, who is listed at 6’4″, 205. He looks to be bigger than that, but not a lot. Jimenez, athletically speaking, is just a baby. He could add a massive amount of weight because he, too, has an enormous frame to distribute it. And because Jimenez was signed over a year and a half ago, he’s already gotten a start on training and building his body at an earlier age than Jorge Soler. That should allow him to avoid the imbalances that Soler dealt with last year, while allowing him to evenly put on an even greater amount of size, while not limiting his mobility or flexibility. He is a physical specimen whose just beginning his athletic development, which is a great kind of scary if you follow the Cubs or like to see baseballs get hit a country mile.
Of every player in the organization to keep an eye on in terms of physical transformations, Addison Russell is the one who will probably make the most noticeable change. Russell is 21 years old, and is listed at 6’0″, 200 pounds. He actually looks to be about that size. Because of his shorter stature, any size he puts on will be much easier to see. His body type, however, says he could probably add another 15-20 pounds and carry it in a manner that would allow him to maximize his athletic gifts. Russell is actually a pretty big player, who has not yet added some of the natural size comes with age. Between that and the programs that professional athletes workout on, Russell could get to be a very physically intimidating presence.
Theo Epstein’s version of the Cubs is one that features a group of players who have “first guy off the bus” looks. Starting with Anthony Rizzo and moving down to Soler, Bryant, Jimenez, and even Addison Russell, the Cubs have assembled a team of very strong young players. While the news of Jorge Soler’s bigger physique may have caught some people by surprise, it probably isn’t an anomoly in the organization. We’re likely to witness a number of players make very pronounced physical changes over the next few years because there are so many young players in the organization…and Theo and Co. like to add big kids who can hit the ball a really long way.