Nick Solak

Position: 2B
Level: Double-A
Affiliate: Trenton Thunder
League: Eastern League
Born: 01/11/1995 (Age: 28)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: 2nd Rd., 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft (NYY); Traded February 20, 2018

Prospect Spotlight

Solak, a converted outfielder taken by the Bombers in the second round of the draft last year out of Louisville, was promoted to Double-A Trenton on August 1 after a solid campaign at High A Tampa, where he slashed .301/.397/.460 with 10 home runs over 100 games. He’s only gained momentum since then, slashing a healthy .327/.352/.538 from the number two spot in the order, and playing a solid-if-unspectacular second base in my multiple views this month.

Solak is playing above his listed 175 pounds, looking 10-to-15 pounds heavier, and there is room for some additional added strength in his upper half to go with his present lower-half strength. At the plate, Solak has minimal pre-pitch movement and some mild bat wrap, and he uses a moderate leg lift to trigger the swing. He times it up well, keeping his quick hands and wrists inside and showing above-average bat speed. The barrel stays in the zone nicely on a level swing plane, and he shows some leverage when making consistently hard contact. While the swing plane is oriented to line drives (2.76 GO:AO ratio) he’s finding some backspin carry to get the ball out of the park (11 home runs) as the season has progressed. Solak uses the whole field well, with consistent extra-base pop into the gaps, and he’ll hang back and shoot the ball to the oppo field. He’s also showing patience at the plate (55/87 BB/SO rate this year), hitting for high average and getting on base at a .391 clip, and the hit tool overall projects as plus. On the bases, he’s a plus runner whose speed plays better underway, with 4.03-to-4.15 second home-to-first times, and he can score on a double from first base. He should project to 15-to-20 stolen bases annually.

On defense, Solak showed fringy footwork at second base, but his quick reads and reactions help him show solid-average range into the hole and up the middle. He can make the routine plays, and does well coming in on balls, and ranges particularly well to the first-base side. He has average arm strength, utilizing a short, slingshot release, and he throws with accuracy when on the run. While there’s still room to improve – in particular the pivots/transfers on double play balls, and improving his balance at the margins of his range – there’s enough athleticism and instincts to expect him to be average defender at maturity.

While he could see some time in the outfield at the upper levels in an effort to find room for the bat-first profile to play in a big league lineup, the bet here is that he settles in nicely as a solid Role 50, major league second baseman. His high average and on-base percentage and his consistent contact should carry the profile, and there’s a chance to hit an above-average ceiling if some more strength is added to his polished swing mechanics to bump the power profile to an average grade.