Jorge Soler, the Cubs rookie that manager Joe Maddon compared to Vladimir Guerrero, has slumped enough over the last week that the Cubs manager bumped him down to sixth in the lineup the last two games.
Beyond that, Maddon plans to ride out Soler’s tough stretch, which has come in large part against the vaunted young pitching of the New York Mets.
“You’ve got to organize your strike zone,” Maddon said of Soler’s issues – which include a team-high 50 strikeouts through 34 games.
“He’s very young, and sometimes you equate big people as being more mature as opposed to their age or their birth certificate,” said Maddon, who has said a big difference between Soler and the power-swinging Guerrero is Soler’s patience at the plate.
“I believe he’s going to do it again,” the manager added. “Right now I think he’s just off a little bit, and we have to keep preaching that patience.”
Soler, who started all but one game this season and came off the bench in the other, is hitting .271 this season with 11 walks after going 1-for-4 with an infield hit and a strikeout Thursday.
His hit opened the Cubs’ four-run fifth inning Thursday as the Cubs tied the game, eventually winning 6-5 to sweep the New York Mets in a four-game series.
Going back to Sunday, he’s just 3-for-his-last-18 with seven strikeouts. Wednesday he struck out twice and hit into two double plays.
Soler, who turned 23 during spring training, played in his 59th big-league game Thursday.
“This guy’s talent is prodigious,” Maddon said. “I mean, he’s going to come back to it. This is where you have to really be patient, pick your spots, do a little bit of talking but always show confidence.
“Because this guy’s a monster player in the making. He’s just going through a rough patch right now.”