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javier baez bombIt’s Selection Sunday, for any of you who are into college basketball. I used to follow the sport much more closely, until it was sacrificed on the altar of having a young kid (and then a second). Now I’ll probably watch a little of the tournament, pull for a cinderella or two, accidentally say “cinderella” out loud, and then be forced to put on the Disney movie for The Little Girl.

  • Dale Sveum on Baez’s ridiculous stretch of four homers in two games, and three on three straight pitches (per Cubs.com): “The last week, it seemed like he turned into a different kid, the way he went about things, his at-bats. I think that inner cockiness will always be something that’s a huge asset for any good player. People who play in the big leagues, there’s always an edge to them, one way or the other. He’s got that edge. He wants to be that guy. I think he got comfortable as big league camp went on in the environment and with the guys. We all know it’s there.”
  • Baez, himself, on his amazing stretch (per the Tribune): “I’m seeing the ball pretty good and hitting the ball hard. I just like [swinging at] the first fastball I see. Sometimes I miss it, sometimes I hit it.” Advice to pitchers: never throw Baez a fastball. Ever. Well, also don’t throw him sliders, because he hits those out of the park, too.
  • Despite the theatrics, Baez, together with Jorge Soler and Christian Villanueva (at a minimum), will be cut from big league Spring camp tomorrow. According to the Cubs’ transaction log, Soler and Villanueva have already technically been cut (which doesn’t mean they won’t still be playing with the big club, as we saw yesterday). I suspect we’ll see a more formal announcement tomorrow with a larger group of players.
  • David DeJesus has worked with Dale Sveum and hitting coach James Rowson (seriously, the Cubs have three hitting coaches right now, when you add in assistant hitting coach Rob Deer – that’s all gotta help) on subtle changes in his approach, which have shown this Spring. He’s thinking we’re going to see better performance this year (not that he was bad last year).
  • A reminder: If you’ve been wanting to get a BN shirt for the upcoming season, there’s a special deal going on now through March 22 – basically, if you order any two or more products, you get free shipping. Use “EASTER2013″ as your coupon code when you check out.
  • gratefulled

    Damnit! Heading to the games tomorrow and Tuesday and was hoping to see Baez in action. Day late and a dollar short, story of my life. Im wondering if Rizzo will at least be back in action?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, he will be. For sure.

  • BluBlud

    The more I watch this kid, the more I’m convinced. This guy is clearly a top 10 prospect in baseball. No one can say I’m saying this because of the last 2 games because I was saying this before the preseason even started. Beaz seems to me he earned the right to start I Tennesee or to start in Daytona with a chance to earn a quick promotion to Tennessee. And once again, if he crushes the ball this season like he has this spring, there is absolutely no chance Baez will not be in Chicago by September. With his talents, that’s not rushing things.

    • Rich H

      I have been on the wait and see train with Baez myself. Not a talent question a jaded Cubs fan thing I guess. But that being said he looks better the more he plays in ST. He gets it. We might be looking at a kid that we pencil in up the middle and watch turn into an All Star or better. His action/ quick twitch is special. Not even talking about his bat yet. He just gets it and it is obvious from the difference in him the first week of ST till now this kid works his butt off to get better. Its a good sign for sure.

  • Jp3

    I’m thinking if he can get a quick promotion to Tennessee it’s anybody’s guess by the seasons end where he ends up by Sept. he’s not plaining a full Iowa season.

  • http://obstructedview.net OVMyles

    You sacrificed CB on the altar, not the alter.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    I hope everybody feels the same about Baez when he goes 0-18 at some point this season. I’m shocked that all this hoopla is going on. Every mlb camp has a couple young kids knocking the cover off the ball. Happens every spring training everywhere.

    Didn’t this kid hitting .218 in A ball last year and about the same in afl though with good power numbers?

    It’s great that this kid gives some posters here some hope but he is what he is and is obviously on a hot streak right now. Wait for the cold streak.

    • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Willie, can we have a list of all the 20-22 year old players in spring training who are tearing the cover off the ball? You said each team had a couple. I’ll settle for 2 from each team. That’s only 60. I’ll wait.

      And, yes, Baez is what he is. He is a top 25 prospect with crazy hitting skills that has had about 300 professional at bats. He could improve, he could crash and burn, or just stall. But on March 17th, 2013 it is okay to be excited by a prospect who COULD be an elite player. (an 0-18 won’t change that).

  • another JP

    I have to laugh at the all the posters making a big deal out of Baez’ Daytona numbers last year. The guy had 80 ABs. They totally ignore the fact that he destroyed the Midwest League and only had 293 AB total in A ball for the year. I also find it difficult to believe that he faced better competition in those games than he’s seeing in ST this year– even if pitcher’s are “just working on different things.” If what he’s doing right now is no big deal then how come all the Cubs prospects (or vets) haven’t homered on three consecutive pitches?

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Yet he has less at bats in spring training and you’re all over sweaty jock hoping to grab a drop of perspiration.

      • another JP

        Great visual pal. Thanks for showing your intelligence you hard-ass.

    • db kyle

      We’re not ignoring what he did in the Midwest League. When a guy crushes the Midwest League, the logical thing to do is to promote him to the Florida State League and leave him there until he crushes that. Not to spaz out and start CoreyPattersoning him.

      There’s no “competition” in spring training. They are non-competitive practices. It’s not comparable to real game action.

      • another JP

        Explain exactly when I stated we should “Corey Patterson” Baez. Or whatever that means in your self-important trolling mindset.

        • db kyle

          Corey Patterson excited people in spring training (unfortunately, the Cubs’ manager was among them and he got the front office’s ear) and they spazzed out and started skipping him past levels despite him still having plate discipline problems.

          Javy Baez is exciting people during spring training, and they are spazzing out and calling for him to start skipping levels despite still having plate discipline problems.

          Honestly, if you took switched 10 points (on the 20-80 scale) of power and speed, I don’t think you could tell Patterson and Baez’s scouting reports apart at the same age. And yet people didn’t learn their lesson.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Which lesson, and which people?

            • db kyle

              The lesson: Don’t rush prospects with clear flaws in their offensive approach and some swing-and-miss problems, just because the rest of their raw talent can temporarily overcome it.

              The people: Cubs fans.

              • DarthHater

                Kyle:

                Castro clearly has some plate discipline problem still. If Baez spends a comparable period of time at A+ and AA and puts up numbers comparable to Castro’s, would a call-up at that point be contrary to “the lesson”?

                • db kyle

                  I specifically made sure I mentioned the “swing and miss” problems. Castro doesn’t have a swing and miss problem like Baez does. Hit tool makes it a lot easier to move up levels without a loss in production.

                  Baez struck out 21.5% of the time between Peoria and Daytona last year at age 19.

                  At that same age of 19, Castro was a full level higher and struck out just 10.4% of the time.

                  Baez in the majors anytime soon would make Brett Jackson look like a contact hitter, though he’d probably hit 25 jaw-dropping home runs in between the parade of whiffs.

                  • Kygavin

                    I like Baez as much as the next guy but it makes no sense to rush him to the bigs this year. Even if he seems ready there is absolutely no incentive to putting him in the majors this year, unless the Cubs are somehow in contention (highly unlikely). My main reason is because it would start his arb. clock early in a year where the Cubs wont be good.

                    Also its spring training. Jake Fox hit like 78 HR a few years ago in spring training and look where he is now, the stats mean nothing.

                  • DarthHater

                    I asked a simple question. It wasn’t a criticism and there’s no need to be defensive about it. And you didn’t answer my question, which was not whether Baez should be called up “anytime soon.” I asked whether you thought a schedule comparable to Castro’s would be too fast for Baez. Such a schedule would mean that Baez would not be called up until about 25-30 games into next season, after having performed well at A+ and AA.

                    Also, don’t give me this verbal hair-splitting crap. You said “plate discipline problems” a couple times. If the only plate discipline problems you intended to reference were swing-and-miss problems, then you should have said that.

                    • db kyle

                      I meant both and that’s why I said both.

                      Castro’s plate discipline problem isn’t a problem for him, because his hit tool allows him to put balls in play hard early in the count.

                      But that’s the exception rather than the rule. Most players with plate discipline problems will be eaten up by them at higher levels.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I suspect that scores of Cubs fans have learned that lesson, and indeed would point to Corey Patterson (and Felix Pie) as notable learning blocks.

                • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                  If Baez turns into a beast and can play third think how stupid it going to that Theodore didn’t sign fielder. An infield starting with fielder, Castro and Baez and whoever at second would be dominant for years. It’s not that hard to find good corner outfielders so all you need is to craft together a pitching staff which is always the hardest thing. It’s kind of building a team backwards as I would have preferred building a solid staff first but fielder sitting there and not being signed was a big mistake.

                  • King Jeff

                    Even with the presence of Anthony Rizzo, you think not getting Fielder was a mistake? By the time Baez is ready, Rizzo still won’t be in his “prime” years, and Fielder will be past them.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    If Baez somehow develops adequate plate discipline, then an IF of Rizzo, Castro and Baez will be dominant for many years, too.

  • Bilbo161

    It’s much more fun to dream than to wait for a cold streak? I’m definitely hoping he just forces his will on the team by mashing at every level untill they have to give him that cup of Joe. Once he gets here, he’s not going back.

  • Die hard

    If Brewers do sign Lohse Cubs caught napping

    • spencer

      Not at all boy. The cubs won’t give up their 2nd rounder for him

      • Die hard

        Can’t let division teams get ahead of Cubs rebuilding and he’s a staff anchor which Cubs need given Garza injury prone and will likely lose Smardzja in couple years

        • db kyle

          Too late. The Cardinals definitely have better minor leagues than us, to go along with better MLB talent. The Pirates do too, but I guess you could argue our farm system is a bit ahead of theirs of if you really like ours. It’s close.

        • Carew

          I don’t think the Cubs would lose Samardzija. He’s probably there to stay…

        • Drew7

          Staff anchor? Man, Diehardland must be a trip…

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/36304889.jpg[/img]

        • DarthHater

          If by “anchor” you mean “dead weight that you attach to something to keep it from making forward progress,” then you might be correct.

        • Kygavin

          Staff anchor? Kyle Lohse? The guy who pitched for the Cards last year? Nahhhhh

          For one he is 34 (on a rebuilding team with an excess of MLB SP already). He is also not a strike out pitcher and he got by with a lot of luck last year. His BABIP was .262 (league average is around 300), his left on base percentage was also 77% which was 6% higher than it was in 2011, and his FIP and XFIP were 3.51 and 3.96 (a half of a run and a full run higher than his era. All of those things point to a regression of a decent amount for Lohse. Let him sign somewhere else and keep the draft pick

          • Die hard

            He’s good for 30 starts a yr for next 3 yrs and 25 will be 7 innings or more…. Who on the Cubs can be counted on for that?

            • King Jeff

              Edwin Jackson is younger, and far more durable than Lohse has been over the past 3 years.

            • Kygavin

              He only made 14 starts of 7 innings last year and 12 the year before that…. but ya lets pencil him in for 25 for the next 3 years

    • cedlandrum

      why would they be caught napping? No one else has signed him and we aren’t going to compete this year so why sign him.

    • cedlandrum

      why would they be caught napping? No one else has signed him and we aren’t going to compete this year so why sign him?

    • DarthHater

      If the Cubs FO thought Lohse was worth signing, they would have tried to sign him by now. If the Brewers sign him, it’s no more napping than if any other team signed him.

  • spencer

    I would love to trade baez and vogelbach and maybe a couple low ranked prospects for D.Price. IMHO, baez seems a bit too cocky, and I pray that won’t hurt the clubhouse dynamic. His personality seems a bit like Zambrano, which isnt a good thing. The silver lining here is that Castro, Rizzo, Soler, Almora, and the #2 pick will be in the same dugout as him, so he can’t act like he’s the team’s only hope. My $.02

    • cedlandrum

      Um what? You talk to him and know his personality? Seems as if you are trying to make a giant leap here.

    • chirogerg

      Also, good luck with getting the Rays to bite on that. Remember we are talking about one of the 5 most valuable player in baseball here. They’d rightfully want a true No. 1 and another top hundo

      • gocatsgo2003

        While I agree with the bulk of your post… wouldn’t Baez and Vogelbach be a true number 1 and another top hundred in the eyes of some? Just saying…

        • DocPeterWimsey

          By comparison, look at what they got for Shields: Will Myers. They have to be expecting to do appreciably better than that for Price: and Baez + Vogelbach doesn’t cut it there, even when you round Baez up for being a middle infielder.

          • db kyle

            I think Baez and Vogelbach would be pretty reasonable value for Price, but the Rays don’t do “reasonable.” They ask for absurd overpayments and stick to their guns, waiting for the other team to crack (sound familiar?).

            • DocPeterWimsey

              It’s “the other 28 GMs” issue: when you dangle a high quality product out there, then somebody will “just get it done” in the end. It backfires sometimes, but it pays off very well when it does not.

        • chirogerg

          By No. 1 I meant an ace-potential pitcher, which we quite frankly don’t have

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Also, who cares what the clubhouse dynamic is like? Many great teams should have had restraining orders placed on multiple pairs within the dugout. Many awful teams have been all about the “25 guys, 1 cab (because our suckiness at knowing where a baseball is ever going applies to all geospatial problems)” concept. Just as long as nobody puts another Cubs on the DL, the clubhouse dynamic is fine.

      • Rich H

        I agree but will also say this. Any kid that has a role model like Soriano is not going to be an attitude problem. He will teach him how to do the work and hold himself as a big leaguer. Also if the kid gets too big for his britches I am pretty sure Phonsie will be the first one to put the kid back in line. Last but not least confidence and that edge is a good thing in a minor leaguer until he won’t listen to the coaches. I have seen nothing that suggest that Baez is hard to coach mostly just the opposite.

        • spencer

          soriano wont be around very long when baez gets called up

          • Rich H

            But he is around and in Baez’s ear now. If the coaches have any idea on what they are doing they are telling all of the young to look at Soriano as a role model on how to go about their business when it is their time.

    • cubmig

      It’s called “edge”…….as Sveum says and is what every good player has. BUT—if you prefer the negative connotation “cockiness”, well…..

    • farmerjon

      My two cents..we saw Peoria play in Davenport last summer. Javy was warming up when my 4 year old started yelling , “javy, are you gonna rake?!?”. He smiled and came over and talked to my kids and asked them questions about loving the cubs. He signed there promotional cubs balls and when asked if he would hit a homerun, he said he’d try AND what do you know…he did. The kid acted and carried himself like a super star, and I’m ok with that “edge”

      • Carew

        I got a smile from reading that

      • chirogerg

        I wish there was a like button for this

  • Cheryl

    Too soon to speak of trading Baez and Vogelbach. Need to see more from them and if there’s a place for them with the Cubs. Both are questionmarks in terms of position But Baez may be good enough to push Barney out the door, but not for another year. As for V, who knows how good he’ll be.

  • DPRagen

    Just for fun let us set up the following hypothetical situation: We will ignore the economics of the game and give Theo & Co. their choice of 40 players in all the world without major league experience to form a roster. That roster is then frozen for the next five years. I suggest the chance of a Cub World Series appearance in that time frame would be well below 50 percent. I hope this illustrates just how foolish this business of trading established major leaguers for prospects really is. Perhaps you believe the opposite. Just something to think about.

    • Hansman1982

      Oh Jesus, would it be the first 40 picked? I think I could build a 5-time WS champion with those rules.

    • DarthHater

      Since the FO’s plan has nothing to do with bringing up 40 players with no ML experience and then freezing the roster for 5 years, the only foolishness your example illustrates is your own.

    • chirogerg

      Not only could you end up with 6 guys on the staff competing for Cy Young and 10 all star position players, but you could probably win at least one , maybe 2 or 3 WS
      Taijuan Walker, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, Jameson Taillon, Carlos Martinez and Kevin Gausman with Danny Hultzen Trevor Rosenthal and Chris Archer in the ‘pen would make a very nice staff with 8 guys that could give you a gem any day.
      Outfield would be nice too: Oscar Taveras, Billy Hamilton, Christian Yelich, Wil Myers and Albert Almora would rack huge numbers.
      Infield of Baez, Francisco Lindor, Nick Franklin, Anthony Rendon, and Jonathon Singleton would be crazy good on both sides of the ball.
      Put Mike Zunino behind the plate, and there is a very promising contender

      • db kyle

        The best part is that with 40 picks, you can take 15-20 amazing young starting pitchers and have a very good chance that 3-4 will be amazing.

        • Hansman1982

          Ya, should have no problem assembling an above average staff with a stunning offense and an above average defense.

          People seem to think that all-stars and HoFers just appear out of nowhere but with this front office I have a lot of faith they could grab a high percentage of 40 prospects that are going to succeed.

  • db kyle

    Oof. I really want to take that bet (if we had the hypothetical ability to play it out, of course). I just have to make the World Series, not win it, and by year three my team would be pretty sick.

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