Reviewing the Atlanta Braves Trade for Jorge Soler

Jorge Soler of the Atlanta Braves hits a three run home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning in Game Six of the World Series. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Jorge Soler of the Atlanta Braves hits a three run home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning in Game Six of the World Series. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

A year ago, the Atlanta Braves acquired eventual World Series MVP Jorge Soler at the trade deadline. Time to review that deal.

When the Atlanta Braves traded for Jorge Soler, fans were not sure exactly what to expect. Soler was struggling at the time with Kansas City and was nearing free agency, so it was a pure rental. A rental for a guy not performing.

We know how it ended. As the third World Series MVP to be acquired by the team during the season.

If only every trade could end with acquiring an eventual World Series MVP.

As highlighted earlier, Soler was struggling with Kansas City at the time of the trade. With the Royals, he was hitting .192/.288/.370 with 13 HR, 38 R, 37 RBI, .289 wOBA, and 79 wRC+.

A low average slugger who took his walks. Not much of an impact bat in the first half of 2021, but Alex Anthopolous and the Braves front office saw something more.

He had heated up in July, hitting .236/.321/.556 with 7 HR, 16 R, 10 RBI, .368 wOBA, and 132 wRC+. Soler had warmed up and was showing great signs in his peripherals that obviously intrigued the Braves General Manager.

The Cost

The cost was simple, Kasey Kalich. The Braves 21st ranked prospect according to MLB pipeline. Kalich is seen as a reliever long-term but has the upside to potentially pan out to being a back end of the bullpen guy.

After being traded, Kalich would spend the remainder of the year in High-A. He appeared in 14 games, pitched 19.2 innings, with a 4.12 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 4.00 xFIP, and 1.47 WHIP. Kalich also had a 26.1% strikeout rate and 6.8% walk rate.

This year, Kalich is still in High-A and has appeared in 18 games, pitched 24 innings, with 3.75 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 4.62 xFIP, and1.29 WHIP. This includes a 22.6% strikeout rate and 10.4% walk rate.

He did appear in one game in AAA. Kalich had 1 inning pitched, faced 6 batters, gave up 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 run, and struck out 2 on June 1st. Since then, he was returned to High-A where he has been since.

Soler’s Impact

Soler was expected, along with the Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario, to help replicate the void left by Ronald Acuña Jr. If he could be a league average power bat in the middle of the Braves lineup, that would be a win. Especially, if it led to a division title.

Soler provided much more. Soler would hit .269/.358/.524 with 14 HR, 36 R, 33 RBI, a .374 wOBA, and 132 wRC+ after being acquired. He would even find himself replacing Acuña at leadoff and did an admirable job.

The trade was justified due to his performance that helped the Braves claim another NL East divisional crown.

Then the playoffs happened. Soler hit .242/.342/.606 with 3 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, .394 wOBA, and 145 wRC+. However, his impact was rather minimal in the NLDS, and he missed the NLCS due to Covid. Once he returned for the World Series, he made sure everyone knew who Jorge Soler was.

He hit .300/.391/.800 with 3 HR, 6 RBI, and 6 R in the 2021 World Series. All of his home runs gave the Atlanta Braves the lead. One lead off the World Series, a game winning home run in game 4 to go up 3-1, and then the shot heard round the world.

That home run had a cWPA of 14.73%. Overall, Soler was worth 23.1% cWPA in the series.

Although he moved on to another team this offseason, he will remain a Braves legend for the rest of his life. We know the Braves won this trade easily on their end. With the 2022 trade deadline approaching, it is always fun to look back on trade that played an integral part in the team’s historic 2021 season.

Hopefully, we will be reviewing some more iconic moments next year.