soccer10k wrote:Wasn’t Soler known for hitting the ball really hard? I haven’t taken the time to compare the two as players/prospects so they might be completely different hitters, but I feel like I remember people thinking he’d figure it out in part because of his exit velo.
Bote is also more than a complete zero in the field so he’s got some value there that Soler doesn’t.
I think mainly people thought that Soler would hit for more power than he did in 2015, because he only hit 10 Ding Dong Johnsons and had a .137 ISO that year despite good exit velocities. And he has. His ISO since then is .185.
Soler's avg. exit velocity by year, from 2015 on: 91.6 mph, 89.8 mph, 89.0 mph, 89.6 mph.
So he hasn't hit it as hard since that first year of Statcast. But he has done well when he makes contact with the ball. His career ISO is .176. His career BABIP is .321. Both are above average and probably have something to do with him hitting the ball hard.
But Bote is in a different realm with his exit velocities right now than Soler was even in 2015. He's at over 96 mph. The league average has gone up and down each year since 2015, but has been between 86.7 mph and 87.8 mph each year. From 2015 through 2017, the only batters that had seasons over 93 mph were: Miguel Cabrera (twice), Nelson Cruz (twice), Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Gallo, and Aaron Judge. Cruz and Judge were both over 94 mph once and are the only two above that mark this year, too. The guys up at the top of the league are nearly always high ISO and/or BABIP guys.
I think Soler was a blind spot for a lot of us (myself included) because he hit the ball hard and had good minor league numbers. But he's struck out in 28% of his PA in his career and is one of the worst defenders in the league -- being a below-average corner outfielder. He's shown signs of putting it together in between DL stints. And I think he'll someday be a good hitter. But he's never going to be all that valuable.
Bote is fast, has shown athleticism, and looked really solid playing in the infield, though.
Exit velocity becomes reliable much quicker than a lot of other stats, too. The stabilization point is around 50 batted balls, which Bote has passed. That's not to say that he's going to be a 96 mph exit velocity guy going forward. He almost certainly won't. But it probably hasn't been very fluky so far. As Cubswin11 said, it's hard to fake hitting the ball hard.
Hitting the ball hard is a very good thing, too. It correlates rather strongly to offensive success:
That's a strong correlation, especially considering all the other things that go into offensive success, like speed and certain players being major shift candidates (usually both working against high exit velocity guys that are big and pull the ball).
I think we'll see his exit velocity numbers drop. But even if he is at, say, 92 mph going forward, that bodes well for his future, much more so than his triple slash line right now.