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javier baez aflThis is some pleasant news.

After turning it on at High-A Daytona – so much so that he was named the organization’s Player of the Month for June – it looks like top prospect Javier Baez is being promoted to AA Tennessee. The young shortstop has largely cemented his status as the best prospect in the Cubs’ organization on the strength of a .274/.338/.535 line in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. At just 20, Baez was on the younger side for the league, and he’ll now be very young for the Southern League.

It’s funny and exciting to see this promotion when, just a month or two ago, we all would have said Baez’s teammate Jorge Soler was at least as likely to see a July promotion to AA Tennessee, if not more so. Thanks to a stress fracture in his tibia, Soler remains nominally at High-A while he rehabs, and Baez is headed up the ladder. What may have triggered the promotion for Baez is his rapidly falling strikeout rate – which was tickling an unacceptable 30% earlier this year and is now at a still-not-great-but-trending-well 23.1% – and his rapidly improving walk rate – which is now a career best 6.2%.

Baez will be challenged at Tennessee for the rest of this season, and I’m sure everyone would be ecstatic if he put himself into a position to be discussed for a look at AAA by this time next year, if not sooner. Many say that the most difficult adjustment in the minor leagues is the one from High-A to AA, so we’ll see how Baez handles it.

What Baez’s promotion means for the rest of the Tennessee roster will be interesting. With Roni Torreyes sent off to the Astros, second base largely opened up for – in theory – Arismendy Alcantara to work there more regularly. If that’s the plan, then the promotion of Baez simply slides him into that open shortstop spot. If, however, the Cubs want Alcantara to continue to get regular work at shortstop, it may take an aggressive promotion of Alcantara, who is, himself, is just 21.

  • Die hard

    Castro to hear louder footsteps?

    • CubsFanSaxMan

      I told you that the FO has people waiting in the wings. Castro’s days could be numbered if he doesn’t start to get his act together. Just another in a long line of prospect hopefuls on a list that is too long to even mention.

      • Turn Two

        Funny how so many seem to want to see people fail.Castro is on our team and we have nothing but time right now. Instead of everyone piling on and inevitably its the same people who will begin booing him at games until management caves, lets just watch a great young hitter make an adjustment in a game of adjustments instead of always waiting for the next big minor league name.

        • Geo

          It’s always the same chit with him, chronic mental mistakes( sometimes the same mistakes) & I’m so sorry I know that it was wrong. How many more phucking times must we witness the same scenario followed by the I’m so sorry’s??????

    • BleedingCubbieBlue

      No

  • I love marmol

    I’ve got Baez fever!

    • wvcubsfan

      need more cowbell for that fever?

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Now we’ll have to see where the organization stands with Villanueva and Bryant.

    • Eric

      Villanueva is not the type of prospect to block Bryant. If/when Bryant gets assigned to AA they will either promote or demote Vill so he can get regular work at 3B, but we have quite a glut at 2B, SS, and 3B at those higher levels.

      • jt

        Earlier in the year posters claimed C. Villanueva didn’t have “corner power” to play 3B in MLB. Now the critics claim he lacks the OBP and plate discipline.
        Villanueva just turned 22 a couple of weeks ago and the noise he has made with his bat is really just getting noticed. With a bit of improved approach he becomes an asset of value even if used in a later trade. I don’t see them moving him around in a caviler manner.

        • Mike S

          Personally Ive thought since the Cubs acquired Villanueva that he would be the one to end up moving to 2b, hes a pretty slick defender who could probably make that turn on the double play look easy. I think Alcantara gets a promotion, They will want to keep him and Baez at SS so their trade value remains higher, One of them will end up being moved at some point. And probably Castro as well. Adding Bryant to the mix has changed things. I love Castro, but unless he can really make some strides in getting that average back up and becoming a better OBP type guy He could become expendable. Baez is no longer an option to move to 3b and with Alcantara emerging and Villanueva there is a log jam of talent up the middle. It could end up being Byrant at 3b, Baez/Alcantara at SS, Alcantara/Villanueva at 2b, and Rizzo at 1b, I like that infield alot and It gives us options to trade to get those pro ready Sps and catchers we are lacking.

  • sven-erik312

    Hope he nails it!

  • Cubsfan21

    Congrats Javier!

  • ChicagoMike702

    Forget AAA, Bez could be with the big club sometime in the 2nd half next year if all goes well. Big if though.

    • ChicagoMike702

      Baez*

    • Rich H

      Kaplan was tweeting last night and he thought that if the improvement continues it might be hard to keep him off the roster next spring training. Lets wait and see but it was pretty high praise.

      • Richdanna

        Kaplan is an idiot….

        • waittilthisyear

          this

  • Dustin S

    This is awesome news. We’ll be able to see Baez a lot more now on milb.tv with the Smokies. And if Alcantara isn’t promoted also, seeing those 2 play together will be fun to watch. This helps the future roadmap too where in a perfect world a late 2014 appearance by them both might be possible. Hendricks, Jokisch, and Szczur are just more reasons to catch Smokies games as well.

    With the big league team in it’s current state it is well worth the $ for the milb tv package IMO. It’s a blast to see the minor league mid-inning entertainment as a plus. Some of the video quality looks like they are using equipment from the 80’s, but overall it isn’t bad and you get used to it.

    • THEOlogical

      Is the MiLB tv pkg only on the internet, or is it like MLB Extra Innings and you can watch them on your tv?

    • THEOlogical

      Assuming it’s a tv pkg, I’ve answered my own question. If not, then is it an app or of the sort? Thanks in advance.

      • Mr. P

        It isn’t a TV package, only internet. That said, if you have a TV that is capable of playing flash video then technically you could do it.

      • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

        It’s internet. I have it.
        If your computer has an hdmi output and your tv has an hdmi input you can watch the games on your tv via your computer.

        • wvcubsfan

          Is this separate from the MLB package? I have the MLB part but have never tried to watch MiLB. Would I have to purchase both?

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Don’t sell Cabrera and Androli out. This Tennessee team is great for the Cubs fans.

      • willis

        Yeah this team was really fun to watch, now with recent promotions as well as the others stepping their game up…going to be awesome. Just loaded with good prospects and an entertaining infield.

        I think he’ll transition just fine. Maybe struggle a little but adjust and do well. Good luck dude.

    • Grant

      With all the shakeup in the outfield ranks, I’m amazed Szczur hasn’t been promoted yet.

  • babe ruth

    dodgers signed ian stewart today.

    • Kramden

      Wondering how long it’ll take him to report

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        +1

    • Die hard

      If true then they stop Chasing Utley

  • Mr. P

    Such a nice surprise this morning to see Javy get the promotion. Here is to hoping I’m as pleasantly surprised by the haul we get for Garza!

  • Kramden

    Also wondering why Baez’s promotion is considered “aggressive”?

    If every prospect had to excel and be proficient in every aspect of the game before being promoted, there wouldn’t be enough major leaguers to field a team. Not sure that I understand the concept that a player can’t or won’t continue to develop and refine their skills as they progress upward and at different timeframes.

    • MichiganGoat

      Mainly due to his age and how this FO seems to want to take promotion slowly and give players full seasons. It could also be to increase his trade value and rank. If he succeeds in AA his value triples over succeeding in A+.

      • Kramden

        Sounds great in theory, but I wonder if there’s a direct correlation between keeping a prospect at a certain level for an entire year or a certain amount of AB’s and their success as a major leaguer. Also why is age such a determinate when we see high school basketball and hockey players make the jump directly to the NBA and NHL and it’s not unusual for them to perform at that high level just the same as older players who went thru college or the junior hockey leagues?

  • CubFan Paul

    Alcantara is winter trade bait. He should stay at SS

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    When do we see Baez making a position change?

    • MichiganGoat

      The longer we keep him at SS the better. He has more value as a SS than as a 3B. Everybody wants a power hitting SS.

  • Wally

    FYI…..very good article on “Garza Return Expectations” over at:

    http://cubsrumorsandnews.blogspot.com/

    • Rebuilding

      Thanks for the article. It’s a nice recap that sums up a lot of the players that have been talked about around here over the last few weeks. Some of the conclusions are a little strange (we would trip all over ourselves to get Cecchini for instance) but its a nice resource

    • Chad

      One thing I will say that is if the Cubs could get Hedges from SD as the headliner they sure as heck better do it. He’s a great player and at a position of need in the system. Catcher.

      • DavidC

        Not happening.

  • Lou Brown

    I saw Pappacio was also promoted from Boise to Kane County. He played last night. I can’t see them moving Hernandez or Amaya yet, so I am guessing more playing time for Darvill and Saunders at Daytona?

    • Rich H

      Scouts had said that Saunders was the guy at Daytona that has the best shot at sticking at short. Not selling Baez short just saying that Saunders is a natural shortstop. Now we will see I guess.

      • AB

        Saunders is also 23 and probably has the worst offensive numbers on the team.

        • Rich H

          Also was hurt after crashing into the wall in April. His numbers in June have been a lot better.

          I never said he was going to be all world just what has been reported other places. I like him so there is a little bias.

  • Die hard

    Castro is about the best since Kessinger in going back and getting under pop- ups … His instincts on balls above his head are uncanny… It’s the instincts on balls between his legs which are the problem.. Move him now to CF and by next yr he’s a gold glover batting .300

    • Bilbo161

      Dunston was just about the best ever goin after fly balls in the outfield. Castro not near that standard in my opinion.

  • Stinky Pete

    “Baez probably took a plane to Tennessee. You know he didn’t walk.” – Keith Law

    • Chrisfchi

      Ba-zing!

  • dan

    Said all along Castro’s days as a cub were numbered he wi hep us more as trade Bait for pitching our infield of the future is now in double aa

  • Beardface

    Think Almora may move up to Daytona late this season?

    • Brandon

      I’m actually surprised that he is still in KC, I would think he should be on his way soon.

      • Beardface

        Well, he had a late start, but I think he’s approaching 200ABs at KC and batting .340. That’s why I wondered.

    • Rebuilding

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs don’t start looking to move their A+ affiliate out of the Florida State League. What we saw last year and this year with rainouts is ridiculous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the earlier than expected call up of Baez and the stall on Almora didn’t have something to do with avoiding Daytona. And if you’re making decisions that are even 1% thinking about that then you got to look around

      • nkniacc13

        the problem with that is where would you move it to what league?

        • Rebuilding

          Carolina Leauge or California League. Most any affiliate would love to have the Cubs. If they signaled they were moving there would be a line

          • Kyle

            Carolina League rains out just about as much and the California league is full of prospect-skewing bandboxes.

            • nkniacc13

              I could understand the Carolina league if you were saying bring it closer to Chicago but they like Kyle said they get rained out as much as the FSL. The reason that Cal isn’t a great league for Cubs to consider is the fact that its an offensive league

            • Rebuilding

              I haven’t noticed Carolina raining out nearly as much as Florida, but don’t have anything to back that up. Agree about California, but everyone knows those stats are inflated

              • nkniacc13

                Yes everyone knows that they are inflated but you don’t want some pitchers to get shell shocked in that enviorment

                • Rebuilding

                  There is a point to that, but to the ones who are going to make it it won’t matter. Plenty of good pitchers have come through the California League

                  • Kyle

                    There’s also the concern of it messing with the hitters’ approach as they try to take advantage of the parks.

  • Roughriider

    Castro is still considered a franchise player. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon and anyone thinking he is, is mistaken. Don’t forget he is still a very young player (23) and has plenty of time to work things out. There are a lot of so called prospects that haven’t even made the majors that are older than him or the same age. There aren’t many players in the history of the game that have over 600 hits at the age of 23. He’s struggling a bit this year with his average but he’s also got a .285 + career average and has had at least 4 different hitting coaches in his time with the Cubs. I’m sure there are plenty of teams that would jump at the chance to get Castro and if he was traded averyone would say the Cubs didn’t get enough in the trade and ten years from now would say it was a bonehead trade.

    • Tom

      I completely agree with your assessment. Let’s also remind ourselves that Javey has done jack in AA…and there are a long line of major prospects who did not make it (we as Cub fans know many of them well). Also, Javey did slump on his promotion from A to AA and it wasn’t until a month into his AA career that he started well. So, if history is any indication, there is a chance he’ll struggle in AA this year but turn it on next year. But back to the theme of this post…Castro is NOT going anywhere. He’s proven he can hit in the major leagues, something none of the other major Cubs prospects have shown at the same age that Castro was when he was called up.

  • Brandon

    Castros days are not numbered, at least not this early in a 7 year deal. If the Cubs trade him after giving a lengthy contract you can forget signing any big name free agents. Who will trust the FO (agent or player) if they trade away a new 7 year contract within a year or two?

  • http://Www.weareworkers.com The Skooter

    Ok- so here’s where I’m kind of a dummy: is Javier just trade bait? I’m all for depth, but this guy is very rapidly climbing the ladder, and Castro is signed for years to come. What is the most likely outcome here?

    • Bilbo161

      The Cubs are far away from giving up on Baez being a Cub. He still looks sile a superstar to me. That talk is a bunch of doodley-squat!

    • Shawn

      Assuming Baez makes it to the big club, the likely outcome is he is moved to third base, IMO. However, if the Cubs make a move for a guy like David Price or Giancarlo Stanton, he will be in the mix.

  • Brandon

    Still too early to worry about that situation yet. Baez could stick at ss, or move to 3b or 2b. Castro could stick at ss, or could move to CF, 2b, or 3b. Time will tell, Baez still needs time.

  • Die hard

    Sept call ups to be only thing left to look forward to.. Going to find my Bears helmet and get ready for two a days

    • Brandon

      You like abuse Die Hard, Cubs this summer, Bears this winter. I’m looking forward to Hockey season already. Go Hawks.

      • Die hard

        Urlacher albatross gone– full speed ahead

    • Tom A.

      My Cubs are always champs in Febuary and March, as are my Bears in July and August and Bulls / Blackhawks in September and October. Basically, 1/2 of the year is good.

      Now when the teams do well beyond pre-season it means more than 1/2 of the year is great. Thank you Blackhawks for 2012-13 ! Bears and Bulls gave extra months of good too.

      I too share your optimism for the Bears Mr. Die hard. It is still July !

  • Rebuilding

    I know that McLeod and Theo have talked about the full year at a level thing, but I think we have to realize that they are talking about the usual type prospect and not the uber prospects. Those guys force their way higher on their own timeline. If you look at Boston’s promotion record during Theo’s time many of the best ones moved faster. With Baez it’s two things: keep the K% below 25 and reduce the errors. If he has 30 errors again in the 2nd half then his bat is so far ahead of his glove you are going to have to make a position change. If he does those two things I would expect he’ll see very little AAA time

  • Chrisfchi

    I thought we were talking about Baez getting promoted. Seems like another “lets trade Castro because he’s not hitting .400″ enough is enough. The kid will learn. Castro and Rizzo are products of those around them. Great teams feed of of each others success. Don’t need to go far for an example. Look at the Blackhawks this year. Even when one star was injured, who ever replaced him fed off of Towes, Kane, exc… And look what happened. This cubs team IMO doesn’t have enough star power for everyone to work off of. Develop our farm, pick up the right free agents at the right time. That’s how a championship team is built.

    • Die hard

      He’s not a good instinct SS and not a power hitter and only slightly above avg speed… He can be a good contact lead off CF and an asset to team that way

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  • Bilbo161

    This promotion is perfect timing. Hopefully, Baez/Alcantara infield duo can climb the ladder together to Wrigley and get those exchanges around the bag down pat.

  • Mush

    The dude is 21. The majority of superstars enter the majors before 23. He needs to be pushed and challenged. I love the move.

    • Drew7

      He’s 20.

  • Michael

    All I can say is if the FO is stupid enough to deal Baez, the Cubs deserve to lose for another 100 yrs. We can only do stupid for so long.

    • wvcubsfan

      Wouldn’t that depend on who they get back? Making general statements like that are almost as worthless as the stupid trade ideas where Miami would send us Stanton for Baez and Almora.

      • Brandon

        And if Stranton is on this team we will still suck…and be down 2 top prospects, and just waiting for Stranton to be a career disabled list player. I’m not saying he isn’t a great player but too many DL stints already(believe its his knees).

        • wvcubsfan

          So glad you on a blog and not in the front office.

  • Rebuilding

    As to Castro. There was an article on Fangraphs the other day that mentioned in passing that when Castro came up pitchers threw him junk (because that’s what you do to young players) but his bat control and contact tool were so good that he had success. Then they figured out he can’t catch up to a good fastball and so now they are just throwing it by him.

    That actually gives me hope. I’ve been saying all year that he has got to get rid of that silly, wide open stance. I cant think of anyone that hits that way and its totally different than when he came up. He’s changing his eye level and taking a full step towards the plate.its causing a hitch.

    I hope they do what the Mets did with Ike Davis. Send him down and tell him this is how you’re going to stand and swing. He’s got the tools to hit. Davis want down, made the adjustments and just started crushing AAA and although its only one game he crushed the ball on his recall last night

    • Hansman1982

      ” I cant think of anyone that hits that way and its totally different than when he came up. He’s changing his eye level and taking a full step towards the plate.its causing a hitch.”

      Derrek Lee

      • Rebuilding

        You are correct. Lee did have a wide open stance, but didnt step toward the plate on his load nearly as much as Castro given his length. And he’s one of the few. If you just think about the change in your eye angles moving that much. You go from looking at the it her with both eyes almost straight up to closing and looking from a totally different perspective

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