Javier Baez’s Plate Discipline Might Be Improving and Other Bullets

javier baez aflWe call this a teaser: I’ve been working for a couple months to get something really special put together for this year’s Trade Deadline Blogathon, and, as of yesterday, it looks like it’s going to happen. I can’t wait to tell you about it at the end of this month. That’s why this is just a tease.

  • Ben Badler’s latest Prospect Notebook includes a long take on Javier Baez’s 2013 season so far. Baez’s strikeout issues have been well-discussed here, but Badler isn’t yet worried about them. “[S]ometimes the best way for an aggressive hitter like Baez to become a more disciplined hitter isn’t by having the organization mandate he start taking the first pitch or emphasizing walks,” Badler writes, in part. “Sometimes a young hitter just has to swing at bad pitches, then learn that those are the pitches he needs to lay off because he can’t do damage with that slider that dives off the plate or that tempting fastball above the strike zone. Some players never make the adjustment, but the talented ones learn from their mistakes. With Baez, the adjustments are already starting to come as a 20-year-old in high Class A Daytona.” Let’s hope so. Badler goes on to discuss Baez’s defense at shortstop, which has been another sore spot this year.
  • After striking out 42 times in his first 31 games this year, Baez has struck out just 16 times in his last 21 games. Still not great, but it’s obviously an improvement. He’s also increased his OPS from .735 to .840 over that stretch, so something may be clicking. Then again, he’s struck out 10 times in his last 9 games, so maybe there is just a natural ebb and flow …
  • The Cubs promoted an outfielder to AA Tennessee, but it wasn’t Jorge Soler or John Andreoli. It was Pin-Chieh Chen, a 21-year-old fringy outfield prospect with good plate discipline, but not much else so far. Chen comes straight up from Low-A, where he’d been performing poorly. Given his age, the big leap, and the performance, you can safely assume this is just the matter of a fill-in. The Smokies outfield already features Matt Szczur, Rubi Silva, Jae-Hoon Ha and Johermyn Chavez, though the latter two are on the disabled list. I wonder how much the timing is impacting things – the Cubs’ obvious focus right now is the Draft, and perhaps they don’t want to make an improvident promotion decision without having a good deal of time to analyze all of the ramifications.
  • Also promoted to AA Tennessee is lefty pitching prospect Austin Kirk, replacement Matt Loosen, who heads back down to High-A. Kirk was having only modest success in his second go-around at High-A – 4.50 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 – but he just turned 23 and the Cubs likely want to see how he adjusts at AA (where he got a brief look last year).
  • Rehabbing catcher Steve Clevenger tells the Des Moines Register that he’s 100% recovered from his oblique strain.
  • Bruce Miles takes a look at the hits and misses of the Epstein/Hoyer era thus far.
  • I couldn’t help but notice that BN’er Oswego Chris’s book on the Cubs’ frustrating championship-less streak is on sale on Amazon (you can get the paperback for just $11.99, and the Kindle version for $5.99), and I thought you’d like to know. You can read an interview that I did with Chris last week here.

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

130 responses to “Javier Baez’s Plate Discipline Might Be Improving and Other Bullets”

  1. Kyle

    You’re right about the ebb and flow. It’s the old “arbitrary endpoints to make us feel better about a young player with terrible plate discipline” game.

    I can get Baez’s “recent” K rate to be anywhere from 18.0% to 29.2%, depending on where I decide to draw the line of “recent.”

    I learned to play that game with Corey Patterson. I played it with Josh Vitters. We all played it with Starlin Castro in recent years. It always seems to have the same ending: They never really develop plate discipline on a wide scale, and any small gains they make actually makes them worse players offensively overall.

    In total, I’m not sure he’s actually made any progress this season. His peripherals for this stop in Daytona are the remarkably similar to his peripherals from his stop there last year. A few less BBs, a few more fly balls, and a whole bunch more BABIP.

    1. hansman1982

      My arbitrary May cutoff puts him at 4.6% bb rate and a 22% K rate.

      I will not blink an eye when the Cubs trade him away and Hoyer’s “young guys can learn batting eye” comments scream Javier Baez is going to be traded.

      1. Timothy Scarbrough

        I hope they trade Baez, as much potential as he has, it just feels like he is already on the long downhill slide of his value.

      2. Blublud

        Baez will not be traded. Despite his “struggles” his performance for the season is closing in on Soler. The Cubs will not trade him unless there is a Price/Stanton/etc involved. There is reason the scouts are so high. If the Cubs trade Baez for less then that, it will be a trade that they will surely regret.

        1. ETS

          Why do you think that? before the season, I was sort of thinking epstein would trade him. I still think he is willing to.

          1. The Dude Abides

            Theo will trade anyone in the organization, absolutely no one is untouchable.

            Theo knows most of these prospects will not make the majors and be an everyday starter let alone all star. Some will of course but we don’t have anybody at AA or higher that is close to a can’t miss and it is unrealistic that you can say anybody in A ball or lower is a can’t miss.

            Lots of baseball and draft picks to go. Fresh crop every year…

          2. BluBlud

            I never said Epstein wouldn’t trade him, but some guys come across as suggesting we just dump him for any MLB talent, and that will not happen. I perfer mostly home grown talent, but I would be willing to trade anyone for the right person. But to suggest that Theo is going to trade Baez just to trade him is asinine.

            1. TWC

              “But to suggest that Theo is going to trade Baez just to trade him is asinine.”

              Right. And literally no one one this site has ever made that argument.

              1. BluBlud

                TWC, there are some guys who suggest that Theo is just going to trade him to get rid of him. They may not say it word for word, but they suggest Baez is not a Theo type of prospect and that he is going to look to move him. That has been suggest several times.

              2. BluBlud

                Hansman Posted this just in this comment section.

                “I will not blink an eye when the Cubs trade him away and Hoyer’s “young guys can learn batting eye” comments scream Javier Baez is going to be traded.”

                1. Cubbie Blues

                  And, nowhere in there says that he will be traded for a replacement player or a bag of beans.

                  1. BluBlud

                    He is suggesting that the Cubs are looking to trade Baez. I can assure you, the Cubs are not looking to trade Baez. It’s doesn’t mean that they are willing to trade him, but they are not looking to trade him. Now if they see a player they like and the asking price is Baez, then sure, they’ll explore it. But they aren’t calling GM and asking what they will give up for Baez.

                    1. hansman1982

                      I bet $100 that if you put Veritaserum in Epstein and Hoyer’s coffee, they’re shopping him and just hope they aren’t transparent to other teams.

                      Over 633 minor league PA, he has a 3.95% BB rate with a 22.3% K rate.

                      You know who else had a similar K rate through their first season’s worth of PA? Brett Jackson.

                    2. BluBlud

                      I can assure you that that is 100% false. Every player is for sell on every team. I am sure the have had conversation about him, as I am sure they will have conversation about Almora after this draft, and every other prospect with a decent pedigree. They may even prefer to trade Baez over Soler and Almora. But I can assure you, they are not looking to trade Baez, unless, and only unless, they have a specific player and team in mind.

                    3. BluBlud

                      In fact Hansman, the secong problem is If In had a nice new car that rated pretty high by everyone, and I call you and ask you if you wanted to trade something to me for it, what would the first question you ask me.

                      It would probably be, “Whats wrong with it?”

                      If for no other reason, this why they are shopping him. Shopping a player decreases their value.

                    4. Norm

                      Theo/Jed will be looking at any long term assets to acquire, and Baez will be the first name on his list to entice the teams to talk to him.

                    5. BluBlud

                      I highly doubt they are throwing Baez around to acquire any long term asset. A particular long term asset, yes, but not any.

                    6. hansman1982

                      “It would probably be, “Whats wrong with it?””

                      The other teams already know his problems. Other teams also see his ceiling and drool. Other teams also think they can fix batting eyes.

                      Wanting to trade Baez over Soler or Almora is easily explained away by wanting to not have to be boxed into a trade later when Baez is ready for the bigs and Castro is blocking him.

                      Like Norm said, If any of the big three’s names get brought up that isn’t Baez, you better believe Theo and Jed are steering the conversation towards Baez. They traded away a much better prospect in Ramirez, don’t think they would hesitate to trade Baez.

                    7. hansman1982

                      Name a long-term asset that is going to be on the trading block in the next 6-8 months, and you better believe Theo and Jed have “reluctantly” said they may be provoked into offering up Baez for him.

                    8. BluBlud

                      Hansman, now I may agree with this, though IMO, I believe Baez is the better player. My opinion doesn’t matter though. But steering a trade towards the prospect they like the least is different then looking to trade that prospect just to trade him. Baez also won’t be traded for just some middle of the road guy. He will be traded as part of a package for a real impact player or in a straight swap fo a different highend prospect(think the Rizzo trade).

                      Also, if another FO is looking at Baez’s potential and drooling, what makes you think Theo is doing the same. I’m not saying he is or isn’t, just asking the question.

                    9. BluBlud

                      *is not*

                    10. hansman1982

                      “Baez also won’t be traded for just some middle of the road guy.”

                      And I never ever never once said that.

                      “Also, if another FO is looking at Baez’s potential and drooling, what makes you think Theo is doing the same. I’m not saying he is or isn’t, just asking the question.”

                      Because there are some front offices that still believe batting eyes can be taught, which, if history is any guide, is about as effective as teaching a pitcher to be healthy.

      3. Norm

        My arbitrary cutoff is May 1 – June 1 (his 5-6 game).
        4.39% BB% 21.93% K%

        1. BluBlud

          Baez walk rate concerns me, but not as much as his SO rate. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that his walk rate will not increase, but Almora’s will. Neither are very selective, But Almora just has better contact skills. Neither will ever walk a whole lot, but that’s just who they are. If Baez’s SO rate stays around 20%, he’ll be fine, as his walk rate will probably level of somewhere around 7-8 % eventually. A Baez that can hit .280 with a 20% So rate and a 7% walk rate 30 HR would be consider a stud. I would take that from any player.

          1. Kyle

            What makes you think that Baez is going to walk at a 7% rate?

            He’s under 4 right now. And it generally gets harder as you move up, not easier.

            1. BluBlud

              It’s the same arguement for Almora. Guys say he is not walking because they are only throwing him strikes. As he moves up the system, he start seeing more balls out of the zone and therefor, he’ll walk more. Also, he is playing in a pitching league right now and having fairly decent success after his slow start. It’s possible, and maybe even probable stat look better in Tennessee then Daytona. Same for Almora and anyone else. It’s not unheard of for you walk rate to increase. Example: Arismendy Alcantara. His walk rate increased from 4.1% to 5.3% to 8.6% from Peoria to Tennesee. It happens.

              1. Kyle

                Almora had 145 professional plate appearance and a scouting report that said he was a patient hitter before he was drafted. (Incidentally, he has an 8.2% BB rate this year).

                Baez has a lot more professional PAs to tell us he’s a hacker, and that was very much his scouting report going into things.

                Not really the same thing. Baez is striking out 23% of the time in the minors. He’s not not walking because he’s being thrown too many pitches he can hit. That’s just something people convince themselves of because it sounds nice.

                1. BluBlud

                  Almora has 4 walks this year. He has walked twice in 2 games. suggest maybe those 2 games he was facing pitching with controll problems, as he has not walk in any of his other 9 games. I can look at a 11 game stretch for Baez and come up with a walk rate higher then that. I not suggesting Almora will or will not walk, as think his walk rate will come up also.

                  1. bbmoney

                    I think it suggests it’s still an extremely small sample size overall and we should just wait a couple months and stop breaking small samples into even smaller and less reliable samples for all of these guys.

                  2. Kyle

                    Virtually nothing you said in that post is accurate.

                    First, no, Almora’s walks did not come in two games. They came in three. He has four walks in 49 PAs.

                    Second, you can’t find a stretch of 11 similar games for Baez. The most closely clustered stretch of four walks for him came across 13 games and 65 plate appearances.

                    1. BluBlud

                      Ok, so when Almora doesn’t walk in the next to games, then we can compare them. So, if Alcantara can improves his, but Baez can’t, even though Baez is the better player.

                    2. caryatid62

                      Shouldn’t K/BB be considered, rather than total Ks?

                      Almora (in a ridiculously small SS) has 4 BBs and 4Ks

                      Baez (in a small SS this year) has 9 BBs and 58 Ks

                      Given the obvious caveat of small sample sizes, it seems like we’re talking about two very different players.

                    3. BluBlud

                      Indead, we are. Almora is prabably the better hitter. However, Baez offers more power. Almora nor Baez will ever walk a whole lot. My whole arguement is that Baez has bad contact skills, not a bad batting eye. I doubt either one sees to many balls out of the Zone, so they are not going to walk a lot. I don’t have the stats, and i could get them, but i’m being lazy, plus i’m working, but i bet Baez SO swinging on more strikes at this point then balls. Almora has better contact skills, so if he sees a strike, he going to hit it. Once they hit AA, then it will become a much clearer picture.

                    4. bbmoney

                      We might be getting to the point where you can say that about Baez (we probably are).

                      Way too early to say that about Almora.

                    5. caryatid62

                      I haven’t read a single scouting report claiming anything about Almora’s approach or inability to walk. I’ll gladly accept that.

                    6. Kyle

                      You are trying to argue simultaneously that Baez is so good at making contact that he can’t draw walks, and that he has bad contact skills but not a bad batting eye.

                    7. hansman1982

                      Almora’s K rates and scouting reports suggest that he may be the type of hitter that will post an 8-10% BB rate to go with a 10-12% K rate (hell, we may even get so incredibly lucky to have a guy that walks more than he K’s (we are due for that kind of luck)).

                      Baez, at this point, to me, is very much the #3 prospect in the Cubs system, because he has no batting eye.

                    8. hansman1982

                      “My whole arguement is that Baez has bad contact skills, not a bad batting eye.”

                      If he has a good batting eye, why isn’t it showing up, like, at all, as in, historically bad BB rates?

                    9. Kyle

                      “Ok, so when Almora doesn’t walk in the next to games, then we can compare them. So, if Alcantara can improves his, but Baez can’t, even though Baez is the better player.”

                      If Almora doesn’t walk in the next two games (and has a ton of PAs in those games, better be extra innings), then you can compare what he’s actually done to Baez’s cherrypicked best stretch, yes.

                    10. BluBlud

                      Almora’s K rate and batting eye to me suggest the type of hitter that will be similar to Darwin barney. maybe slightly better, but not much better. But like i said yesterday, who cares who is better. Hopefully they’ll improve and continue to get better. Even if they never play for our Cubs, maybe they all bring in a huge haul and we will eventually win a WS because of it. Maybe we can agree on that.

                    11. BluBlud

                      Kyle, the guy is 20 and young for his level. He is going to have some trouble. There is no getting around that. Like yall said, He aint no Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.

                    12. BluBlud

                      No, MG. Like I said, I played the Campana game with you guys because it was fun. I was never really angry about the trade or anything. I did like the guy, and yes, I was a huge fan, but I never thought he was even close to a super star.

                    13. hansman1982

                      “Shouldn’t K/BB be considered, rather than total Ks?”

                      That’s useful, but BB% and K% tell us more and it’s fairly easy to figure out the BB/K ratio from there.

                  3. BluBlud

                    Kyle, now you twisting words. Baez has bad contact skill, probably because he can’t control his unbelievable bat speed, so he will swing through a lot of strikes. I never said once he can’t draw walks because he has good contact skills. I said he is not walking much, because he probably doesn’t see a lot of balls.

                    How you got what you got out of that, I don’t know.

                    1. Kyle

                      I’m not twisting words. You’re just dancing to try to justify Baez’s problems.

                      Just go with “he has so much talent he can improve” and hope for that.

                      ” Guys say he is not walking because they are only throwing him strikes. As he moves up the system, he start seeing more balls out of the zone and therefor, he’ll walk more.”

                      Why would he see *more* balls out of the zone if he’s having problems hitting the balls he’s seeing in the zone? You know pitchers generally get better as you go up the ladder, not worse.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      Oh Blu is Baez this years Campana for you?

                    3. AB

                      “Baez has bad contact skill, probably because he can’t control his unbelievable bat speed”

                      Damn, that problem prevented me from playing pro ball too!!

                    4. hansman1982

                      “Kyle, now you twisting words. Baez has bad contact skill, probably because he can’t control his unbelievable bat speed, so he will swing through a lot of strikes.”

                      This sounds similar to the previous defenses for Brett Jackson. He had such an amazing batting eye that he struck out a lot on borderline pitches.

                    5. hansman1982

                      “Oh Blu is Baez this years Campana for you?”

                      Baez at least has talent.

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            The data suggest differently, at least for big leaguers where we have the data. In most cases, when Batters A and B have differences in numbers similar to Almora and Baez, the underlying difference is the pitches at which they swing: A and B might have similar “red” zones but B swings at more pitches in his “blue” zone does A.

            1. BluBlud

              Their only difference is So rate and Power. Baez has more Power, Almora less So. So even if what you are saying is true, which I has told you I disagree with, a players Red zone can be out of the strike zone and his blue zone can be in the strike zone. Baez may be swinging at balls he can hit, but if those ball are strikes, he has to swing at them. That’s a signal of bad contact skills, not a bad batting eye. I have said numerous times, Almora contact skills blows Baez’s out the water. It’s not even close.

              1. Kyle

                And the scouting reports of their pitch selectivity.

    2. gocatsgo2003

      Can you really call 86 PAs last year a “stop” in Daytona? To me, that seemed more like the front office’s way of taking a kid who is pretty cocky by all reports and saying “OK, sure, you crushed at Peoria this year as a 19-year old… but look what happens when you slide up just to high-A. Have some humble pie on the house.”

      I also don’t entirely buy that BABIP is purely an indicator of luck; sure luck plays a factor, but higher BABIP also seems to necessarily imply that a player is hitting the ball harder so that it can better find those gaps in the defense.

      1. Blublud

        BABIP is a luck stat when it’s flooded with singles. If a guy has a highish BABIP, but he has a good line drive % and a good amount of XBH, then its ok.

        1. gocatsgo2003

          Like Baez, who’s slugging .519 and for whom 29 of 60 hits (48.3%) have gone for extra bases?

          1. hansman1982

            Who is also 19th in the FSL in BABIP but 15th in wOBA.

            He also has the 7th lowest walk rate but the 19th highest K rate.

            This is out of 79 players that FanGraphs lists.

        2. Kyle

          You really want your mind blown? XBH that aren’t HRs have a very heavy luck component as well.

          1. jt

            Of course there is a luck factor. But there is a skill factor also. Good hitters will square up on the ball a greater % of the time to find the gaps a greater % of the time.
            Good hitters will be able to get the head of the bat out on inside pitches and more often control the inside pitch as a hit down the line rather than a foul into the seats.
            There are smacks that are caught and blops that fall. No, they don’t always even out. But good players give themselves a better chance with each at bat.
            And yes, it works the other way for good pitchers.
            Regressing to the mean? It is actually a process tending toward an equilibrium. An equilibrium is reached when a forward action is equal in rate to a reverse action. If something happens to disrupt either the forward or reverse then a new equilibrium is sought.
            Pujols and Hamilton haven’t been unlucky. Something has disrupted their play and they have to find a way to get the mojo back. I don’t believe they believe luck will do the job.

            1. hansman1982

              It’s weird, BABIP doesn’t correlate with power (SLG) very well (.4) and it’s best correlating stat is AVG (.8).

              With Pujols, he is a good example for why BABIP is misunderstood. It’s not just about looking at one number and declaring *HOLY FLAP-JACKS XYZ IS HAPPENING*. It’s all about creating a story.

              The BABIP tells us he isn’t getting as many balls to fall as he used, combined with the below average BB rate, above-average K rate, below-average and declining ISO, is what tells us he isn’t hitting the ball as hard as he used to. As such, the balls that used to leave the yard are now falling for doubles and easy fly outs. The sharp liners over the infielders heads are now sharp liners to the infielders.

              Now, his LD, FB, GB percentages are in line with his career numbers. Starting in 2008, he began swinging at more and more pitches out of the zone and is now 10-13 percentage points higher than his career average. His contact rates have, except for this year, remained roughly the same.

              So what is going on? He is getting older and the cumulative effect of a career of injuries is starting to pile up. However, is Albert Pujols, suddenly, a replacement level player? No. Despite the case I just made for weaker contact, he still has an above average batting eye and an unsustainable BABIP.

              By the end of the season we should see his OPS tick back closer to where it was last year.

              1. jt

                I accept much of what you say as to Pujols. As the weather warms, pitchers may lose a bit of break or velocity and he may catch up to a few more pitches. Perhaps he makes an adjustment and will start to look a bit like his old self.
                But will it be his old self? If what you say is true then those pitchers who don’t lose command/velocity/movement may still get the better of him more often then in the past. Add that to the fact a third of the season is past. Does this same process work next April/May?
                I image your eyes now go to the relevant stat. If A and B are happening then you look to Z. If A and C then you find what is going on in Y. There is a lot going on in that which you posted. But yet there is an order to it.
                Luck depends upon disorder.
                And yes, there is disorder in baseball.
                But those that are good find ways in which to create control.
                Hey, the bad guys are doing the same.

                1. Kyle

                  Pitchers on average tend to gain velocity in the summer months.

                  1. jt

                    OK Kyle, I stand corrected. Most pitchers gain velocity in warmer weather.
                    But the smaller drag of the ambient air also limits the curve and allows the hit ball to travel further.

      2. Kyle

        Baez’s line drive percentage last year at Daytona: 13.6%
        This year: 11.2%

      3. Norm

        Why all the arguments on BABIP all the timme? If it’s high, it’s going to go down, if its low, it’s going to go up. Call it luck or call it randomness or whatever. It’s going to happen. When they are in the minors, it can be well over .400 for a season….but don’t expect it to be anywhere near that later in their careers.

        As for LD%? It’s not even reliable in the major leagues, I wouldn’t put ANY stock in LD% for the minors.

    3. jt

      If it is graphed as a moving avg then you can see the gradients over time.
      Just looking at his last 10 games, Baez K’d 3 times in the 6th game of that sequence and twice in the 10th. Was there something special about those 2 games? Was he tired? Was the quality of pitching better? Was it just random? I think it was the 8th game of the sequence he went 5 hits for 6 trips to the plate with one K. Was it just that he was facing a sucky pitcher?
      No, a single 10 game stretch does not say much. But several ranges of close to the same duration and similar results that are interrupted by spikes is a pretty good indicator that something is happening and it might be wise to look and see what it is.
      You are not looking for specific numbers and it has to be a large range. The trending slopes over time give indications that something is going on. The spikes indicate that something special is happening at a given point of time. That something special could be a fluke or it could be a flaw. It is just an indicator.

  2. Luke

    I’m not so sure but that Loosen might be the better prospect than Kirk right now. Loosen has consistently put up the strikeouts. At the very least he looks like a quality reliever candidate.

    Kirk’s ceiling is in the Chris Rusin -esque 4/5th starter territory.

  3. Kyle

    I don’t think Kirk or Chen got a promotion. I think they got a “shuffle you around to wherever there’s a roster spot that needs filled, because you’re probably getting cut when the next wave of prospects hits the minors.”

    1. MikeW


    2. Spriggs

      Totally agree.

    3. mak

      Certainly in Chen’s case, it feels like a last chance before he potentially gets dumped after the draft. A dozen or so younger/more promising OF’s have passed him at this point.

    4. AB

      I believe Choi is still the only Cubs Korean amatuer signing to make the majors.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Now, that is a small sample size.

  4. Spriggs

    Despite all the red flags – and they are real serious ones, my money is on the supreme talent and the confidence that Baez possesses to figure this out. I do not think he will fail.

  5. Kramden

    Can’t help it but whenever I think of the Cubs trading Baez at this point I’m thinking Lou Brock.

    Sometimes patience is a virtue

    1. Timothy Scarbrough

      Someone should tell Baez that.

      1. @cubsfantroy

        I legit lol’d when I read that.

  6. JulioZuleta

    Javier Baez is 13th in the FSL in OPS. Every player ahead of him is older except for Miguel Sano. Out of those 12 players, there are 2 1B, 2 3B, 1 RF, 1 LF, 2 CF (1 about to turn 23, and 1 already 23), 3 OF, and 1 SS (who is about to turn 23).

    When you compare him to the rest of the league, he’s actually doing pretty damn great.

    1. hansman1982

      Except he is walking and striking out at rates that predict he doesn’t have a good chance to become a successful major leaguer.

    2. Kyle

      There’s more to projecting a prospect statistically than OPS. Baez’s K:BB ratio is associated with prospects who will underperform their OPS as they move up to higher levels of competition.

      Brett Jackson’s OPS in AAA didn’t save him in the majors.

      1. JulioZuleta

        I know, but I’m saying despite the problems, he is more than holding his own amongst league leaders that are older than he his, and play power positions. The talent is real, and he has made improvements in the last month. I think people jumped ship, or thought about doing so, way too quickly.

        1. Kyle

          All the reasons for “jumping ship” (or really, just downgrading his prospect status a reasonable amount) are still there.

          He’s still got a sub .320 OBP. He’s still got a 6+:1 K:BB ratio. He still isn’t showing he can actually stick at a premium position.

        2. itzscott

          I think many of us placed much higher expectations on him after what he showed in spring training than he normally would have gotten…. and now many of us feel burned because there was no follow-through at High A.

    3. JulioZuleta

      Also, the average OPS of the league appears to be about .703 (average of the teams, but the use a DH, so pitchers aren’t dragging it down). That gives Baez an OPS+ of 119.

      1. hansman1982

        He is performing well, there isn’t much debate about that, it’s just that, in AA, AAA and MLB how much is he going to suffer as pitchers start to expand his strike zone.

      2. JulioZuleta

        I’m not sure if the FSL happens to be very Right Handed or something, but when looking at his splits, I saw that Baez has faced righties in 80% of his ABs. For reference, Starlin Castro, a right handed-non-platoon MLB player, has faced righties in 69% of his ABs this year. That’s a significant jump.

    4. Jim

      And if Javier Baez turns out to be the next Mark Reynolds (35 homeruns / 200 strikeouts), would we be okay with? For me, I’d say “yes” as long as he played 3B and was solid defensively there. It would be even better if he could keep that OPS over .800.

      1. Kyle

        Reynolds draws a ton of walks to keep his OBP up to adequate levels.

        The hope for Baez needs to be that he can be something like 2001-2005 Soriano.

  7. BABIP (MichCubFan)

    Off topic. But where would you guys rank Gieger, Amaya, and Alcantara in our system right now?

    1. Luke

      I’m high on Amaya, and that hasn’t change. He may not be Top 10 anymore, but he’s in the conversation. I suspect he’d fall into the 10-15 bracket right now.

      Alcantara is a strong candidate for the Top 10 now, and likely will fall in the middle of that pack.

      Geiger is moving up for me, but I still see him in the 20s somewhere.

    2. Spriggs

      Although he’s still only in low A, I am higher on Amaya than any of the above. I really like his approach at the plate and his versatility in the field. He will be a high OBP guy, I think. He’s got some pop and some speed, though not an abundance of either. He’s really been coming on the last few weeks after a bad start. He may not have quite the upside as Alcantara, but I think he will ultimately be the most successful of the three. Just my opinion.

    3. Kyle

      After the draft, there should be eight guys who are no-doubt top-10s, in my opinion:

      Tier 1:
      No. 2 pick, Soler, Almora, Baez

      Tier 2:
      Alcantara, Johnson, Vogelbach, No. 41 pick

      Tier 3:
      A bajillion guys you could make a case for, including Amaya and maybe even Geiger.

      1. hansman1982

        Geiger is outperforming Baez and right there with Soler in terms of wOBA, BB and K %…

        1. Luke

          Let’s see if Geiger can sustain this over a season.

          1. hansman1982

            No, I am going to be irrationally attached to his performance and think that Theo ruined him if he doesn’t…

            Yes, players like him remind me that scouts and scouting reports do have some value.

            1. JulioZuleta

              I don’t know if I read a typo as to his height once or something, but I always dismissed Geiger because I thought he was 5’9″. I was very happy when I saw he’s actually 6’2″. No clue why I thought he was short.

              1. Luke

                You might have gotten Geiger crossed with Cerda.

                1. JulioZuleta

                  That’s possible. I’m thinking I read something on a message board once and just didn’t question it.

      2. Jared

        In what tier do you see Vizcaino fitting? Is it too early to tell with the TJ rehab and subsequent setback?

        1. Luke

          Near the top if he comes back looking like he did with Atlanta.

          But until he gets back, he’s a little tough to rank. Paniagua is also potentially sky high, but until we get him in action he’s tough to position.

          1. Jared

            If both of those guys hit (which of course is a big if), and if the # 2 and 41 picks on Thursday are pitchers (which I think is very likely), that would make 5 potential top two tier pitching prospects (Vizcaino, Paniagua, Johnson, #2, #41). That would be quite the turnaround from the state of the pitching in the farm system when Team Theo took over.

            1. David

              Dont forget about Hendricks!!

        2. Kyle

          He’s had multiple arm injuries, almost one per year for several years.

          He’s clear Tier 3, imo. That’s just too big of a negative. Tier 1 talent, but very slim odds of ever reaching it. Think Angel Guzman.

      3. X the Cubs Fan

        I think the draft pick, whether its Appel, Gray or Bryant will be in the top tier of prospects just because the ceiling of all of them is so high.

        1. mudge

          Appel’s impressive. But I’m high on Adderall.

      4. Norm

        I agree with Kyle, but would have Candelario in that 2nd tier as well. Alcantara may be a Top 100 guy after the season.

      5. Crockett

        I still don’t understand why Vogelbach is in “tier 2″. He’s a hit-only player with no position and has a .777 OPS in A. He’s someone to keep an eye on, but no way is he a top-7 prospect in this system.

        1. Kyle

          He’s got the scouting pedigree and the peripherals to support better numbers.

          If he’s still OPSing in the 700s by the end of next season, he gets dumped out.

  8. BABIP (MichCubFan)

    Alright, one more then. Candelario. He is young for A-ball, but isn’t really killing it. Where do you see him?

    1. Luke

      Up there. Working off Kyle’s brackets (which I don’t quite agree with, but mostly do), he’s high third tier and pushing for second.

  9. X the Cubs Fan

    2014 Cubs opening day rotation: Garza, Samardzija, Appel, Wood, Edwin Jackson?

    1. Rich H

      That all depends on how fast he signs. If he drags out his signing after the draft he might end up costing himself a year in the minors just so the Cubs can see what they got. If you draft Appel be ready for a lengthy negotiation period. He thinks he is top pick money.

    2. Kyle

      There is very, very little chance that Appel starts 2014 in the rotation.

      Could he hold his own against MLB hitters? Probably.

      Is he ready to handle the professional rigors of starting every fifth day for 32 starts? Absolutely not. Which is why he’s going to start in A+ or AA and begin to get used to that schedule. He will probably get some sort of call-up by the end of 2014, but he’ll be under an innings limit for the year and won’t get many starts in.

  10. Rizzo 44

    Kyle who do you think the Cubs will pick at number 2? Also Who would you pick at number 2 if it was in your hands? I still think Bryant is the pick at number 2 for me, but Appel is who I think Theo picks. The Cubs need some solid position players that have a good idea of the zone. They also need top of the rotation starters so IDK which is better. I feel you draft the best player at number 2, not by need. I like last years draft a lot and I feel they could do the same again this year.

    1. Kyle

      I think it’s impossible to guess who they’ll pick. The pre-negotiations seem to be intense this year, so every leak and rumor could easily be misinformation designed to gain leverage. None of the big four names would surprise me. Heck, I’d only be a medium amount of stunned if they went with Frazier or Meadows.

      If it were my pick? I’d do everything I could to try to sell myself on Moran or Bryant. But with what I’ve read and seen so far, I don’t think I could do it and would cringingly take Appel (only because all pitchers make me cringe at the top of the draft).

      1. Rizzo 44

        Bryant has the power and Moran has the high OBP along with many other things. I would take either of those guys before Appel. I think you get more value out of a player that plays everyday vs 30-32 starts. Also I don’t think Appel is a true number 1. I feel like for the Cubs he would be their number 1 of the future. I stay with Bryant if I had the pick in my hands and pick 41 is the best pitcher on the board at that time.

        1. YourResidentJag

          I don’t take Bryant namely because I would want value at the 3b position. I’m not sure based on the reports that he would stay at 3b. He may have the same questions at the position as a power hitter like Sano does. I think they go with Moran, the more I’ve considered it.

          1. Kyle

            I don’t know if they are going to get that option.

            1. YourResidentJag

              Yeah, I know.

              1. Rizzo 44

                I disagree 100% with him not sticking at 3B. Look at Miggy for the Tigers. I think he could stick at 3B and have plus plus plus power at 3B. ARAM wasn’t that good at 3B to start his career, but got better. I think he would be huge for the Cubs and even if he had to move to LF that’s okay. 80 Power is hard to find.

  11. Fastball

    My thoughts on Baez are he had a lot of people in his head about changing his approach. Well it’s just like learning anything else in life you have to break a habit, you have to establish new structure and mindset then you have to put into production. This kind of change takes time for a kid his age and who hasn’t had to make a lot of changes in his approach to anything baseball related thus far. He get where he is on his natural ability and some coaching. HIs coaching may have been good and maybe not. Some coaches know what they are doing and others don’t know shit. Some take the approach with a kid like Baez that it’s smart not to screw with him because he is a high skill kid in every category. So the Cubs started making some changes. It took a lot less time to get them into production that it does with most. From my observation he is very exceptional having been able to accept and physically adjust to so much change.

    1. Rebuilding

      Except pitch recognition seems to be one thing you can’t teach. Guys who go up in BB% dramatically seem to just be guys that develop so much power they get pitched around. Frankly, I would rather they just leave him alone as far as patience. I think the constant chattering about plate discipline has really hurt Castro this year. You can’t make that leopard change his spots

      1. Noah

        It’s not that pitch recognition is something you CAN’T teach. It’s just that a method that might work for one player might not work for another. And no one has found a single method of teaching plate recognition that they could even say would work for 20% of players, and I think if you combined all the methods together for impatient players you would find that far more than half won’t be successful using any of the current methods used to attempt to teach plate discipline.

  12. Cheryl

    Baez has a high strikeout rate so far. Has a list been put together from the various minor league levels on what players have the best plate discipline? It might be an interesting look. At the major league level Castro would probably come off as having very poor plate discipline. But what about the minor leaguers? If Theo and company are looking to emphasize that in the minors it might show up in those promoted,

  13. Dynastyin2017

    Brett…you are brilliant.

  14. Bilbo161

    Whheeeew. Man, Baez is no where near as impatient as this board. Give the kid some space. In 2 years we will know who’s opinion is correct and Baez will be right where his talent takes him. Data or no data.

    1. Kyle

      Odd. So you’re volunteering to have no opinion on the subject for the next two years?

      More bandwidth for the rest of us, I guess.

    2. DarthHater

      This board whiffs ten times as much as Baez, too.

  15. Bilbo161

    There you go putting words in other people’s mouths again.

    1. Kyle

      I asked a question, that’s not putting words in your mouth.

  16. Bilbo161

    No, not exactly I guess I was wrong. The real point was about patience. You just didn’t like the post I guess even though it was not a reply specifically to you.

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