(CBS) All in all, Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler has had a respectable start to the 2015 season, hitting .275 with three homers, 13 RBIs and a .761 OPS.
But manager Joe Maddon believes there’s a big key to the 23-year-old Soler really busting out: laying off the slider. Soler has one of the best OPS marks in all of baseball when facing fastballs, but it’s his recognition of the breaking ball that will get him to the next level in Maddon’s mind.
“He’s chasing,” Maddon said Tuesday in an interview with the Spiegel and Goff Show. “In honesty, I can tell you when I look at him right now, I remember when I first saw Manny Ramirez with Cleveland. That was part of Manny’s problem when he first began. I talked to him about it. He had a tendency to keep chasing the slider. Then all of a sudden the epiphany, the light bulb goes on, and he stops chasing the slider. And then he becomes Manny Ramirez. I think the same thing is going to happen with Jorge. He’s done that before, where he’s not chased, so you know it’s in his DNA to not do that. He’s trying a little bit too hard, a little too anxious, whatever you want to call it. The moment he gets that chip working in his computer and stops chasing that thing, heads up. I know that’s going to happen. So for right now, he’s in a little bit of a swing mode on that particular pitch. It’s an adjustment he has to make and will make. Again, I’m encouraged because I remember Manny when he started out at first doing the same thing.”
Listen below for Maddon’s full interview with Spiegel and Goff. He also talks about the use of his bullpen, the revamped Wrigley Field bleachers and his go-to TV shows.