Jorge Soler Isn’t Alone When it Comes to Bulking Up

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Today was a day where what we suspected was confirmed…Jorge Soler is freakin huge.

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.

The reaction of new manager Joe Maddon is similar to the reaction I had when I first saw Jorge Soler in person: “He’s real big.”

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.

Photo: CCO
Photo: CCO

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.

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About Andy

Sometimes I write stuff about the Cubs. Sometimes it's even good. But don't get your hopes up. Basically, my writing is like the pre-2016 Chicago Cubs.

7 Replies to “Jorge Soler Isn’t Alone When it Comes to Bulking Up”

  1. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Davis, Anderson, Medeiros – MLB Trade Rumors

  2. It’s interesting that you bring up Addison Russell. I’m not 100%, but I’m pretty sure I heard Kiley McDaniels at fangraphs talk about how Russell actually put on a bunch of weight early on in his career but decided to lose the weight because it decreased his mobility and was having a negative effect on both his speed on the basepaths and his fielding ability. He also talked about how Russell had the type of body that could easily put on 30-40 pounds just because he had that type of body but that he might have to work on it to make sure he stayed at a weight that allowed him to play shortstop. Not sure where to look to confirm any of this but I thought it was interesting that you also noticed how Addison’s body type looked like he could add more muscle in a hurry.

  3. Just found this little tidbit in an article on about Russell after he was drafted by the A’s:

    “Russell turned to healthy meals, running, yoga and Pilates, among other activities, to achieve his goal. His heaviest weight reached 225 pounds, and he now weighs in at 190.”

    I for one think Russell has the best chance to stick at short of the Cubs current crop of prospects so it will be interesting to see if he can keep his body in the kind of shape it needs to be in to stick at short. I think he has the athleticism to move around the diamond but with so many other options, I’m guessing the Cubs would also like him to maintain the body that he has now rather than bulk up which might affect his ability to play short. Great article! Gave me a lot to think about.

    • Thank you for the comments! Maybe it’s his particular stature that makes it so that even if he could gain the weight, it’s not optimal for him to do so if he’s to maintain his standing as an overall player as you suggested. That’s definitely something for us to consider!

  4. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Davis, Anderson, Medeiros | BNNBNN

  5. Bryce Harper put on weight last year and it really seemed to change his swing (not for the better). He struggled in spring training with his swing and then got hurt and never seemed the same.

    Every player is different. I applaud the effort, let’s see what happens.

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