Last week, the Cubs top prospect Javier Baez was promoted to AA Tennessee. Baez’s stat line at Daytona at the time of promotion was .274/.338/.525 after a slow start.
From what I’ve seen, Baez is not a big kid but has incredible strength in the wrists. Baez is nowhere near MLB ready, he needs to establish some plate discipline and to not hack at everything in sight. The bat speed is impressive as he had a 4 homer game at A+ this year. He is not a patient hitter by any means but is steadily improving his walk rate, though it is currently 1 for every 4 Ks. If he wants to be a regular at the show he needs to be more patient and get on base at a better rate. I like the comparison to Gary Sheffield, particularly the bat speed. If Baez came even near that potential the Cubs have something very special. For now Baez will be at AA the rest of the year, with a very small chance he’s even a September call up as he’s not even on the 40-man roster. By this time next year, there is a better possibility that Baez could be helping the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Worst case, he’s still in AA struggling but learning.
The other night I had to the privilege to go see a baseball game featuring the Tennessee Smokies against the Jackson Generals. The starter for yesterday’s game was right hander Alberto Cabrera. He pitched very well, going 7 innings, striking out 3 while giving up 1 earned run. Cabrera was perfect through 3 until he gave up a homer to Ji-Man Choi (a Futures Game representative) right over the right field wall. The was all the damage done to Alberto. His fastball was in the range of 91-96. When he pumped the fastball at 95+ he had trouble finding the zone. His off speed and breaking stuff were effective though.
Javier Baez had an okay game. He went 1-4 with two strikeouts. Baez looked overmatched at the plate at times, swinging very late on a few pitches and seemed to be off balance. He was in three two-strike counts if I recall correctly. The one hit he had was a single up the middle. As for his defense, it was solid. He got to the routine grounders and made two throws on the run to first base, showing good accuracy.
As of last night, Javier Baez at Tennessee was hitting .206/.250/.471 with three homers, two walks and ten strikeouts in 36 plate appearances. Lots of progress to be made, but remember, he struggled last year upon being promoted to Daytona, too.
I have some videos from the game I attended of Javier Baez. You’ll have to click the links because I don’t know how to embed yet, but they will load. Here’s one where he grounded into a double play:
…and here’s one where he singled up the middle: