Javier Baez Was the Top Prospect in the Midwest League Says Baseball America

Photo by Dennis Sievers/Peoria Chiefs

Another set of Baseball America’s league prospect rankings has come out, and this one is from the prospect-rich Midwest League, where the Peoria Chiefs play. (Also, where the now-affiliated Kane County Cougars play.)

Although you may be slightly bummed to learn that the Cubs placed just one prospect on the top 20 list, unlike the bounty of prospects that showed up on BA’s Northwest League list or the Arizona League list, you’ll be pleased to learn that the prospect showed up in lights.

Javier Baez, the Cubs’ top draft pick in 2011, claimed the top slot over the likes of Miguel Sano, Francisco Lindor, Archie Bradley, and more. The list is a veritable who’s who of top young prospects, and Baez is first. Nice.

Baez, 19, crushed it in his 57 games at Peoria (low-A), putting up a .333/.383/.596 line and playing surprisingly pleasant defense at shortstop. He earned a late season promotion to Daytona where sporadic playing, adjusting to better pitching, and inclement weather didn’t give him much of a chance to show what he could do (.188/.244/.400 in 86 plate appearances). All in all, it was good enough to cement his standing as the Cubs’ top prospect, one of the top 25 prospects in baseball, and a prospect worthy of sending to the Arizona Fall League, despite his young age.

The sky is the limit for Baez, and this will hopefully be just the first of many feathers in his cap in the years to come.

Jorge Soler didn’t quite qualify for the list with his limited time at low-A, in case you were wondering.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

29 responses to “Javier Baez Was the Top Prospect in the Midwest League Says Baseball America”

  1. Kyle

    Despite Baez being the only Cubs prospect on the list, I find this more exciting than the 7 NWL guys combined. That’s a franchise-changing talent, either in Chicago himself or in a trade for a true superstar.

    1. ETS

      Don’t completely undersell the NW league guys.

    2. AB

      I agree with Kyle. Javier is like ‘”Bitches Brew”, and the rest of the Cubs top prospects are the Gil Evans and bebop eras.

      1. ETS

        Okay I have to agree with you no matter what you stance is if your going to use that epic of an analogy.

  2. Cubbie Blues

    It was also good to see Soler getting a mention by Baseball America at the bottom.

  3. ETS

    I remember being bummed we missed Bubba Starling.

  4. When the Music's Over

    Goldstein had a serious hard-on for Lindor last offseason. I asked him why he had Lindor ranked so much higher than Baez in spite of them being drafted one spot apart in the same draft, and he said he thought Lindor was a far superior talent.

    After a year of professional ball, I wonder if he’d still stick to that same sentiment.

    1. ETS

      He’d probably rate the Astros’ prospects above anyone else.

    2. TC

      There was a late-season podcast (maybe it was a ten-pack post) where he discussed that question, and he still put Lindor ahead of Baez. Said Baez was still likely to be a 3B (albeit very good there defensively), while Lindor was likely to play star-level defense at short. Not only that, but Lindor showed pretty good pop for such a young player, and really, really good plate discipline/command of the strike zone, which is a skill that is exceedingly rare in young players, and is even rarer to see that skill as pronounced and developed as it is for Lindor at that age.

      1. When the Music's Over

        Yeah, figured that. Was wondering if he still has Lindor as a far superior talent, or if he believes the gap between the two closed at all.

        1. TC

          Yeah, he definitely sounded like the gap had closed by quite a bit

          1. When the Music's Over

            Thanks. Great to hear.

      2. Norm

        There was a study on baseball prospectus by Rany Jazayerli regarding the age of drafted players…Lindor was the youngest player in the draft that year (or close to it anyway) and I think age plays a HUGE role in their rankings.

        Lindor is 11 months younger. (15 months younger than Bubba Starling) Doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re THAT young, it’s a big deal, according to the study.

        Found the study:
        Part 1: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15295
        Part 2: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15306

        1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          It’s understandable, and part of why I wanted Giollito (sp?) in the draft this year. He was very young for the class. Dude had some heat for a young age. Almost every pitcher has arm trouble at one point any more. I think Almora will be a fine player and the FO obviously loved him by paying slot. They have tons more info than I could ever dream to see. Outside of seeing a WS game in Chicago, the only other process I would love to see in person is the War Room for the Cubs during a draft or the trade deadline.

          1. Norm

            This is something I wanted to look into, but just don’t have the time these days.
            Seems like it’s rare for the 98+ mph high school draftee’s to make it in the bigs.
            I could be wrong, but the Colt Griffin’s get the hype, but can’t seem to make it.

        2. cubchymyst

          I’m happy you posted the links to that article, and I feel like the take home message is to judge players against the age of their competition. When you have a younger guy who can put up good numbers against older players it is a good sign. When you have an older players beating up on younger guys it is harder to judge.

      3. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Can’t really fault his reasoning. It is very hard to teach plate/personal discipline. Baez is working on both, but is still behind. He had 0 plate discipline to start, and thought he could hit everything. That swagger and confidence is a positive to me, but I understand the need show discipline. I think that was always the knock on Castro, and he is doing just fine. As long as Baez keeps putting up numbers, I think most would agree we prefer him.

        1. JR

          I can picture it now Castro and Baez in the lineup together in 2015 both batting .320 with .325 obp’s. I can’t wait! Just kidding, hopefully Baez gets better at taking pitches..

          1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            Ha, don’t be shocked by this if it happens.

            1. TC

              hell, Id take a 320/330/550 line out of Baez any day of the week

              1. Featherstone

                How about Aramis Ramirez’s career numbers with better defense. I’d take that in a heartbeat

  5. Stevie B

    Just remember, Javier Baez does WHAT EVER THE _ _ _ _ HE WANTS!!!!!!!!

  6. North Side Irish

    Jim Callis also wrote an article to go along with the rankings to explain how he chose between Baez, Sano, and Lindor. Basically that Sano has more power (than everyone in the minors) and Lindor is superior defensively, but that Baez is the most complete player of the three. Callis also says the scouts he talked to project Baez to hit .300 in the majors and has Gold Glove potential at 3B.

    The article also included this quote, which I liked:

    “His batting practice was the highlight of my summer circuit, just seeing what he could do to all parts of the park,” a National League scout said. “You definitely made sure you were there early enough to see it. He has such ridiculous bat speed. I got a two-game look before his promotion, and every ball he hit was a home run or went to the warning track.”

  7. cRAZYHORSE

    Cub tickets on sale at stub hub for 99 cents a ticket. if your local and want to go to a game and laugh and point now is the time .

    1. Matty

      At least until next April, that is.

    2. Polar Bear

      I bought tickets for Wednesday game in the bleachers and they were $5 a piece.

  8. GoCubsGo

    Castro came to the league at 20 years old. Any chance we see Baez at that age? I probably see Baez more likely in 2014