javier baez aflNothing top Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez does at this point surprises me anymore. When he had his four homer game earlier in the year, that was an amazing, shocking feat. If he did it this week? It would thrill me, but I’d barely blink. He has become that ridiculous on a consistent basis.

OK, I’m exaggerating slightly.

But look at last night: Baez went 4 for 4 with two homers and a sacrifice fly, and it barely registers. It’s an amazing performance, and yet it’s just another day at the office for the 20-year-old shortstop.

After the performance, Baez’s line in the Southern League – where he is one of the youngest players, and he’s playing shortstop – stands atĀ .307/.366/.659. The top OPS among qualifiers is the .903 by almost-23-year-old Marcus Semien. Baez has him beat by more than 100 points(!!!). There are only nine players in the entire league with an OPS above .800(!!!!!! – I’m running out of exclamation points).

On the year, between AA and High-A, Baez is hittingĀ .286/.348/.581 with 33 homers, 33 doubles, 4 triples, and 100 RBI in 119 games. He’s also stolen 19 bases (thrown out just 4 times) for good measure.

  • On The Farm

    Question for that stat heads: our “core” infield is pretty much all suffering from being way below their Career BABIP, Barney’s this year is .232 (career .276), Rizzo is .254 (.270), and Castro is .289 (.325).

    I guess my question is, is it normal for the team as a whole to see their BABIP suffering, or it is just our three guys here?

    • Kyle

      It *could* have something to do with our organizational philosophy of looking for balls up in the zone that can be driven in the air. You get more XBHs that way, but lower BABIP.

      At least in some small part. Variance is still a huge part of it.

      • On The Farm

        Thanks, it just seems weird that all three of these guys are struggling like this.

    • The Dude Abides

      “see the ball, hit the ball” is not the “The Cubs Way” – working the count works for some players, some players, not so much…


    Barney and Castro are first ball fast ball hitters who have been trying their darndest to not swing at the first pitch over the last year to year-and-a-half. I’ll bet if you look at their BABIPs when putting the first pitch in play back in previous seasons, you’d see BABIPs well over 300 for both of them in that situation. They used to make their livings off of looking for a first pitch FB on the outside corner and lining it over the second baseman’s head. The problem is that they’re not allowed to do that anymore…

    With Rizzo, it’s just a case of small sample size/”bad luck.” He’ll rebound next year.

  • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

    Are people really questioning Barney’s offensive worth. Some of you just have arguments about pointless things. Barney is worth nothing when it comes to offense so why argue numbers.

  • Stevie B

    In regards to Baez, even though he is still a prospect, it sure is nice to not have to say…
    “Man, we could have picked ________ instead. “

    • Mr. B. Patient

      There are still people who do/will.

    • BT

      Jose Fernandez went 5 picks later. Personally I’d always take the hitter over the pitcher, but given where these 2 are right now, I’d reluctantly trade Baez for Fernandez. Fernandez is doing it at the major league level, and looks special doing it. That doesn’t mean we should have taken him instead. It’s just how things worked out.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Looking back at drafts and redoing them is not worth doing. Neither is rehashing trades. I don’t mind a draft ‘miss’ if we took an equally rated player. What I mind is the Hayden Simpson type overreaches. If Jon Gray ends up having a better career than Kris Bryant, so be it, because Bryant was a a solid choice. Now taking Vitters because you didn’t want to deal with Boras and draft Wieters (as the rumor goes), that aggravates me.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Vitters was a legitimate choice in that slot. He was the considered the best high school bat in the draft and was one of the youngest players in the draft. Taking Vitters over Weiters in that slot is about as defensible as taking Frazier over Moran in this past summer’s draft.

          ie: very defensible.

          • BT

            Correct. Hendry may have wanted Weiters, but was unable to sign him due to financial constraints, but Vitters was not a reach. He was considered a top 5 talent by most before the draft.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            Yes, I do agree. That was a bad example, as far as reaches go. Rumors were out there leading up to that draft that the Cubs preferred Wieters but were afraid of his bonus demands. I understand that thinking, but I hate passing up good catchers.

            • Edwin

              The Simpson one is a killer, just because of the other names taken after him. Obviously, with hindsight 20/20 it’s easy to say “we could have had player x”. Just because Zach Lee, Taijaun Walker, Nick Castellanos, and Mike Olt were taken later in the draft doesn’t mean the Cubs would have taken one of those players. They might have taken Josh Sale or Kaleb Cowart, or a dozen other guys that would have done just as poorly as Simpson.

              Still, it makes you wonder what this team would have been able to do if they had been bigger spenders in the draft more often.

          • Stevie B

            I remember when we took Vitters…and Montenez. I was excited about both. That’s kinda why I was disappointed when we picked Baez.
            Key word…..was.

            • Mr. B. Patient

              Yes. Montenez. The next Alex Rodriguez, if IRC.

    • ssckelley

      You could drive yourself nuts doing that. Guys like Earl Cunningham, Ty Griffin, and Drew Hall pepper the list of failed #1 draft picks. The best #1 draft picks the Cubs had ended up with other teams (Joe Carter, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jon Garland).

      Here are the best #1 draft picks that had an impact for the Cubs (based on war):

      1. Kerry Wood – 22.7
      2. Mark Prior – 16.5
      3. Shawon Dunston – 11.5
      4. Doug Glanville – 10.8
      5. Corey Patterson – 9.6

      We all cross our fingers that the Cubs futility of drafting #1 picks is over. The Cubs now have 7 of them in the minors (Vitters, Jackson, Baez, Blackburn, Johnson, Almora, and Bryant).

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Ah…Ty Griffin…didn’t we pick him because that 3rd baseman (a team need since Santo left) from Arizona had stats that were inflated by playing in Arizona? And they weren’t sure of his glove. Ventura, wasn’t it?

        • ssckelley

          Yep, Robin Ventura went with the next pick after Griffin. But I remember as a kid being all excited about the pick and went out and bought packs of Topps baseball cards to collect these:


          I think I still have them somewhere, like 5 of them, I am still waiting for him to reach the majors so they will be worth something.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            I remember that pick well. (though I was not a kid). I remember saying something like ” why the f#%k didn’t they pick the guy with the 2 million game hitting streak”.