We’ve all heard the buzz about Javier Baez and his dominating performances down with the Tennessee Smokies, the double A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. He’s belting walk offs left and right and can’t seem to be stopped. So, lets take a deeper look at this 20 year old kid from Puerto Rico.
Baez stands 6 feet tall and weighs about 195 pounds, he was rated as the 16th best prospect in all of baseball prior to this year by both Baseball America and MLB.com. He started the year off in high A Daytona and worked his way up to double A Tennessee, where he currently sits. So far this year Baez has played in 117 games, he has 132 hits, 33 of which are doubles, and 31 are home runs. He has driven in 95 runs on the year.
There is no doubt that this kid possess great power, but he has only hit over .300 once in his young career, and that was back in 2012 with the Peoria Chiefs when he batted .333 over 57 games with them. Baez is currently sitting at .298 with the Smokies.
He possess’s solid speed, both on the bases and with his hands. Cubs manager Dale Sveum compared Baez’s bat speed to that of Gary Sheffield, and we all know how good of a hitter Sheff was. I’d say Baez is in some good company there. One of the things that people knock Baez for is his glove, he has a combined 41 errors this season, that won’t cut it at the major league level, especially at a position like shortstop or second base.
People need to give up on the foolish dream of him being in Chicago before the year is over, Theo isn’t stupid, even though some people might disagree. He’s 20 and the Cubs are pitiful, what’s the point? Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him at triple A Iowa before the year is over, but definitely not Chicago.
There’s another problem, he’s a shortstop, and the Cubs already have one of those, even though Starlin Castro is having a bad year and has been wildly inconsistent, he’s the long term guy. Some people are calling for Castro to be traded to make room for Baez, but I believe a position change is needed for one of the two youngsters, I think its Baez and his likely landing spot is third base.
After breaking down some tape on Baez, his hands are definitely freaky fast. The kid is a free swinger with a long swing, but having those hands makes up for it. His high leg kick helps supply most of his power and when he gets a hold of a ball it has the chance of traveling very far.
I would even be surprised to see Baez up next year, the Cubs aren’t going to rush him. The most likely scenario in my eyes is Javier Baez at third base on opening day 2015, but I guess anything is possible, right?