Cubs prospect Jorge Soler will be in a walking boot for the next 4-6 weeks after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left tibia, the team announced Thursday.
Soler, who is hitting .281 with eight home runs in 55 games, hasn't played for high-Class A Daytona since June 13 after fouling a ball off his shin.
The Cuban outfielder has had a bit of a rough go this season. He's already been benched by his manager for failing to run hard, and he also served a five-game suspension in April after approaching the opposing team's dugout while wielding a bat.
I call attention to this news for two reasons: First, it's a sad day for any organization when the status of players who are in the deep minors is more newsworthy than the activities of players currently at the major-league level. That's the case for the Cubs right now. If you listen to The Score's "Talking Baseball" program on Sunday mornings, you are likely to get extended discussion on the progress of assorted Cubs prospects, but little will be said about the current roster. That goes to show there is not much to discuss with the Cubs, at least until they trade off the handful of useful veterans they have before the July 31 deadline.
Secondly, I also point out Soler's issues to make note that you just never know with prospects. Sometimes I hear Cubs fans and even some media talking with great certainty about how Soler is a future star. Maybe he is. I don't know. The kid is only 21 years old. I do know it's much too early to make judgments on this guy. It's certainly too early to anoint him for greatness, especially since he's having a tough year. No question, it's a setback to lose at least two months of development time to an injury. Soler will play winter ball, I'm sure, but there's a real possibility his season at Daytona is over. He'll never get those at-bats back.
This turn of events is a reminder there are risks when an organization ties its future to prospects. Some guys pan out, but most guys don't. The Cubs have about ($)30 million reasons to hope Soler pulls it together, but if indeed this is the end to his 2013 campaign, it can only be described as a disappointment.