Baseball is a game of averages: average running, average fielding and everything in between. Even when a talented prospect gets called up to the Majors they can both prosper and struggle at the same time. Sometimes struggles are plentiful and after a dip at the end of 2014, a slow Spring Training and some overwhelming personal issues, heading back down to Triple-A for some work isn’t always a bad thing. If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan then you are familiar with this situation; You’re familiar with the plight of Javier Baez.
Baez, 22, was the most exciting prospect that the Cubs had seen in years since Mark Prior and previous to drafting Kris Bryant when they picked him ninth overall in the 2011 Amateur Draft. He was called up in 2014 after batting .260 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI’s in Triple-A Iowa. He showed promises of power with his exceptional bat speed and natural power swing with nine home runs and six doubles in 52 games. The downside is that he’s quite the free swinger, adding 95 strike outs to his statistics and ending his 2014 campaign with a .169/.227/.324 slash line.
On top of his on the field issues, Baez sadly lost his sister to Spina Bifida before the regular season started. He missed a good portion of April but reported to Triple-A Iowa about two weeks ago after taking some personal time for bereavement.
He’s off to a slow start much like his Spring Training this year hitting a very sub par .205 in 42 plate appearances for the Iowa Cubs. The organization wants to give him time and also every opportunity to succeed because talent-wise he’s got such a high ceiling. However now that the Cubs have so much talent both at the Big Club level and in the minors, adjustments may me coming to make Baez more useful.
Arismendy Alcantara is another good prospect in the system and started the season in Chicago because Baez couldn’t. However having some batting troubles himself and because of other team needs, the Cubs’ “super sub” was sent back down to Triple-A. Team brass is now looking into working Baez the same way. He’s already a natural shortstop and has game experience at both third base and second base. His natural athleticism could also lead him into some time at center field. And increase in batting average and the ability to learn the outfield could give him what he needs to break back into the Majors.
There are also still trade rumors floating around young Mr. Baez, as do with anyone who’s got such high (and so far untapped) potential. With so many good infield prospects already in the Cubs’ system and so many needs still abound with their relief pitching staff a trade should never be out of the question.
But for now no matter what the rumors may be Javier Baez will continue to work hard toward getting back into the Majors, one at-bat at a time.
The Cubs seemingly have never-ending talent. Whether the fans want to watch Bryant, Baez, or a big free agent signing like Jon Lester, they can see it in person at Wrigley Field. Hipmunk.com can get any baseball fan there, by gathering thousands of flights to and from Chicago with a few mouse clicks. Chicago hotels can be reserved through Hipmunk as well, with multiple options starting below $100 per night.