Soler has dropped 20 pounds during the offseason due to an improved diet and has also worked to retool his swing, Maria Torres of The Kansas City Star reports.
Upon being traded to the Royals last winter, Soler was expected to seize a full-time role in the majors in 2017, something that hadn't been afforded to him in a crowded Cubs outfield the prior two seasons. The 25-year-old ended up falling well short of expectations, slashing just .144/.245/.258 while striking out in 32.7 percent of his plate appearances across 35 games with the Royals, resulting in the outfielder spending most of the year at Triple-A Omaha. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds last season, Soler is hoping a lither frame in addition to the adjustment in his approach in the batter's box will be enough to help him improve his outfield defense and contact rate, respectively, without sacrificing his signature power. Soler's pedigree makes him an intriguing late-round target in fantasy drafts, but in order to win an Opening Day starting gig, he'll need to convince the coaching staff in spring training that the changes he's made in the offseason will set him up for more success in 2018.
Soler was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday.
As expected, Soler will get another shot with the big club after struggling to a .154/.245/.275 line during a pair of stints (29 games) with the Royals earlier in the season. He's compiled a more respectable .267/.388/.564 line with 24 homers in 74 games for Omaha, so he could see a good amount of playing time down the stretch as the Royals look to give him another look against big-league pitching.
Soler has returned home to attend to a personal matter and will not be recalled until a later date, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.
The report did not include any estimate of how long Soler will be away from the team, but it does indicate he will join the Royals' major-league squad at some point before September comes to a close. Soler posted an impressive .932 OPS over 71 games with Triple-A Omaha this season, so he could see a healthy amount of playing time when he returns so the Royals can gauge if his power carries over to the top level.
Soler was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Monday, Joel Goldberg of Fox Sports Kansas City reports.
Soler was unable to parlay his success in the Pacific Coast League into an everyday role with the Royals during his latest stint with the big club, as he had picked up just three starts over the Royals' last eight contests. He went 0-for-12 at the plate during that stretch to drop his season average to .154. Alex Gordon (.192 average over 311 plate appearances) hasn't provided much of an impact as the Royals' primary left fielder, so if he fails to show improvement in the coming weeks and Soler starts raking again at Omaha, the 25-year-old could soon be in line for another promotion.
Soler is out of the lineup Tuesday against the Mariners, Joel Goldberg of Fox Sports Kansas City reports.
Soler had picked up starts in six of the last seven games but failed to do much with the opportunity, collecting five hits (including a home run and two doubles) in 24 at-bats (.208 average). The Royals haven't cut bait with Brandon Moss as their primary designated hitter, so until that happens, Soler may have to settle for a part-time role at either that spot or the corner outfield.
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