Javier Baez Arrives in Arizona to Destroy Spring Training and Other Bullets

javier baez aflI like Jimmy Fallon. It’ll probably be years before I can once again consistently take in late night talk shows, but I look forward to clips from his new duties at the helm of the Tonight Show. After all, he’s the guy who did this and this.

  • Javier Baez has arrived in Arizona, and he discussed the year ahead as humbly as possible, saying things like “taking my time,” “I’m still learning,” and “I’m going to work on my defense.” You can see initial interviews here, here, and here, for example. In the end, the story remains the same: Baez is a stud and will probably be a ton of fun to watch in Spring Training, but he’s starting the year at AAA Iowa. And although he might see time at other positions in the Spring, he’s staying at shortstop for now. Rinse. Repeat. And wipe up your drool.
  • For now, Rick Renteria says the plan at third base is to mix and match. (Patrick Mooney) That’s the obvious right answer at this point, particularly given the fact that we don’t yet even know for sure what the roster is going to look like. Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy are the incumbents at the spot, in a platoon, and Mike Olt will remain at third base for Spring Training. He’s about as wild card-y as it gets, with even the Cubs appearing to concede at every turn that they don’t know what they have in Olt until he sees live pitching in game situations. And, even then, I have to wonder: will Spring Training be enough to convince the Cubs in either direction? If not, the Cubs will have to do some serious lineup massaging to make sure he gets regular at bats at AAA Iowa, with Christian Villanueva at third and a potentially crowded outfield picture. Olt may have to dust off the first base glove and/or do some work at DH.
  • Jeff Samardzija tell Patrick Mooney he was “blindsided” by Ryan Dempster’s decision to sit out the 2014 season, which I assume was just a coincidence, and not a veiled reference to Dempster’s “blindsided” comments from the 2012 Trade Deadline.
  • Bruce Levine says Welington Castillo has put on 10 pounds of muscle. I’ll reserve comment until I see him in action, but I will admit that I heard “10 pounds” and thought about Castillo’s knee surgery at the end of the season, and I got a little nervous about the offseason activity. Castillo could stand to add a little pop in his bat, so maybe adding some weight will prove to be a good thing, so long as it doesn’t cost him any quickness.
  • A Q&A with Cubs pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks.
  • Chicago Magazine’s annual list of the most powerful people in Chicago is out, and Tom Ricketts (48) and Theo Epstein (100) slipped considerably from their spots last year, which, shrug. The Cubs are crappy, and have been crappy for a while now. That kind of perception is understandable. If/when the Cubs start winning consistently? That – and so much else – changes rapidly. Jerry Reinsdorf, by the way, was 11th, and Rocky Wirtz was 6th.
  • Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson was on the Top Coach Podcast.
  • Vine Line on the story of Weeghman Park, the field before it was Wrigley Field.
  • Dan Szymborski holds some weird ass, but highly entertaining, chats at FanGraphs. Here’s the latest, with quite a few Cubs mentions (including this exchange, which is funny, in light of many of the discussions around here lately – “Comment From Matt: Dan, Cubs bank on being able to acquire SP when offensive core is ready. Problem: high-end guys keep getting extended – see H Bailey. Solution?” “Dan Szymborski: *Someone* will get to free agency.”)

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

255 responses to “Javier Baez Arrives in Arizona to Destroy Spring Training and Other Bullets”

  1. Edwin

    Baez the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, Baez came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

    1. Austin8466

      Um…what?

    2. mjhurdle

      Ha! well played sir :)

    3. Greenroom

      Are you the gate keeper?

    4. Darth Ivy

      Baez is very big in Sumeria

    5. Eric

      When someone asks you if you’re a God. You say, YES!

    6. Luke

      Please tell me you had that memorized…

      1. Edwin

        Sadly, no. My mind palace is not quite up to snuff yet.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Its a movie I have ways to much stored in memory but that bit of dialogue is tough.

          1. Patrick W.

            Whatever this movie is, I’ve never seen it. I suspect it’s Ghostbusters based on the reactions of everybody.

            1. Edwin

              Yessir. Rick Moranis.

            2. Edwin

              And for a real Rick Moranis treat, I reccomend Strange Brew.

              1. Patrick W.

                Huge fan of Strange Brew. I still occasionally pull the Steamroller move on my wife.

              2. CubChymyst

                Spaceballs is another.

              3. Eternal Pessimist

                One of my all time least favorite actors!!!

    7. MichiganGoat

      Ha I had just watched that with Jr the other day and when Zulu was mentioned he started to say “ZOOOOOLOOOO” over and over. Kinda of scary and then cute plus he loves marshmallows so I might have spawned something amazing and frightening.

      1. DarthHater

        It’s “Zuul.” “Zulu” is an entirely different film. :-P

        1. MichiganGoat

          Whoops yeah it was Zuul watching Zulu with a 18 month old would be a bad idea.

        2. TWC

          Wasn’t that Michael Caine’s first movie?

          1. MichiganGoat

            Maybe his first major feature film but he was in a bunch of other stuff both TV & Film before that.

            http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000323/?ref_=tt_cl_t5

  2. Stinky Pete

    Is anyone else having trouble logging into Fangraphs? I had issues with home and now work computer. Hoping its not just me…

    1. DarthHater

      That happened to me last year. For weeks, I could not connect from work. Then, the problem just suddenly went away. Since then, the issue re-appears occasionally, but never seems to last long. No idea what the issue was/is (and not going to ask my employer to figure out why I have trouble surfing baseball sites when I’m supposed to be working).

    2. DarthHater

      BTW, I’m not having any problem today, so Fangraphs isn’t down.

    3. hansman

      I tried this morning and my employer blocked it for being suspicious.

      I have had various issues getting around Fangraphs in the past as well (in order to search for a player when I am on the leaderboards, I have to go all the way back to the home page). Seems like their programmers get short changed on funds.

  3. mjhurdle

    I look forward to Baez destroying Spring Training to the extent that the most popular debate becomes whether he should start the season in AAA or with the Big League club.
    He would still start in Iowa, but it would be awesome to see him go off in ST and really start forcing the issue.

  4. Greenroom

    Brett or Luke, I’m curious to get your opinion on when you see Baez being called up? By that I mean, I get the what if’s, but your true intuition on the topic. Thanks

    1. CubFan Paul

      When someone gets injured.

    2. Jon

      When is the “super 2″ deadline for Baez this year? June?

    3. Luke

      Not before mid-May, I think. Mid June wouldn’t surprise me.

  5. CubFan Paul

    “with Christian Villanueva at third and a potentially crowded outfield picture. Olt may have to dust off the first base glove and/or do some work at DH”

    Uh no. Villanueva would stay in Tennessee before all that. Olt is still the better prospect & blue chipper that Villanueva is not. No way the Cubs tank Olt’s value by moving him to 1B/DH (if healthy).

    1. Austin8466

      In what way would moving Olt to 1B tank his value?

      1. CubFan Paul

        25HR, plus-defending third basemen are worth a lot

        1. Jon

          Mike Olt shit his pants in the PCL league, so I don’t see him hitting 25 HR in the majors.

          1. CubFan Paul

            Sound analysis Jon.

            1. Jon

              It’s a pretty big leap of faith to assume Mike Olt is a 25 HR(hitting those HR with a reasonable avg/obp) player in the majors.

              1. CubFan Paul

                “It’s a pretty big leap of faith to assume”

                I’m not assuming anything, besides health. Olt is the better player/prospect

                1. Chad

                  besides health, well yeah, but if he isn’t healthy that obviously makes him a pretty big non-prospect, only time will tell. Also, if the cubs put him at 1B/DH it’s not to increase his trade value, it is too see what they have and if he can hit consistently. By putting him at 1B or DH his glove at 3B just doesn’t disappear. They see Villanueva and Olt as 3B prospects but Villanueva probably needs more time actually playing 3B. Also Villanueva is a pretty good prospect in his own right, some could argue a better one based on the uncertainty of Olt’s vision, so it is very important to get him reps at 3B. He isn’t going back to AA either because that is where Bryant will be.

              2. ced landrum

                Sure it is a big leap unless you know the guy had some sort of medical condition or was injured.

                1. brickhouse

                  It is a big leap because only 5 3b hit 25 or more HR’s last year. I see Olt in AA for a lot of this season.

                  1. hansman

                    If Olt goes back to AA this year, you can throw him in the “failed prospect” bin.

                    1. brickhouse

                      Meant AAA and not AA but still a good chance he is a failed prospect or becomes a 4A or bench player

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      “but still a good chance he is a failed prospect or becomes a 4A or bench player”

                      Why?

                    3. hansman

                      Because he still hasn’t shown he can hit big league pitching. Even when healthy.

                      It’s the same risk that every prospect carries.

                    4. CubFan Paul

                      “Even when healthy”

                      Smh

                  2. CubFan Paul

                    If by big leap you mean consensus upside/ceiling then yes at Olt being a 25HR 3B

      2. Edwin

        At 3B Olt can make an impact with his bat and his glove. At 1B, he can really only make an impact with his bat.

      3. Eternal Pessimist

        And Olt plays a good 3rd base, which isn’t easy (cut to moneyball scene)

    2. Jason P

      Considering literally every major prospect list this year had Villanueva ahead of Olt, I’m going to have to disagree.

      1. CubFan Paul

        Olt was injured & played through. Villanueva was healthy, of course Olt fell back in prospect status.

        Villanueva’s floor/ceiling and upside didn’t change over the course of the ’13 season.

        1. Jason P

          And we still don’t know (A) if Olt has permanently solved his vision problems or (B) if his struggles last year were 100% related to his vision. If we did, he wouldn’t have dropped on prospect lists.

          Villanueva’s not starting at AA. I can guarantee you that much. He needs the reps at third more than Olt, so either he’s going to get all the reps or they will split time there with the other playing first or DH. Olt isn’t suddenly going to forget how to play third is he has to move across the diamond for a while.

          1. CubFan Paul

            Villanueva’s has approach/on-base issues that weren’t solved last year. AA isn’t a punishment.

            1. Jason P

              I’m not high on Villanueva either, so no argument there. I’m just saying Olt’s not head and shoulders above him.

              1. CubFan Paul

                “I’m just saying Olt’s not head and shoulders above him”

                I’m saying, if healthy Olt is. That’s all.

                1. Jason P

                  If the Cubs feel Villanueva is ready for AAA, I still don’t see the drawbacks of having Olt play first while Villanueva develops further on defense.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    Villanueva’s defense is ‘fine’. He’s always been a slick defender. It’s his offense/bat that’s the issue.

                    1. Chad

                      Olt’s defense is fine too, he just needs more at bats. Bryant needs to work on both, so moving Villanueva to 3B at Iowa and Olt to 1B/DH and leaving Bryant at 3B in AA is a best case scenario.

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      “Villanueva to 3B at Iowa and Olt to 1B/DH and leaving Bryant at 3B in AA is a best case scenario”

                      Olt making the team out of Camp is the best case scenario (if we’re talking about the same thing).

                    3. Jason P

                      But I think most would agree Olt’s glove is better.

                    4. Chad

                      True, Olt in Chicago is best case, but I also don’t think that is overly realistic, but maybe it is.

            2. Jason P

              I slightly misread your comment. I should add that while I’m not high on Villanueva, it’s not my opinion that matters and league-wide he is still viewed as a legitimate borderline top-10 prospect in the system.

    3. Luke

      Olt’s glove isn’t in question, only his bat. Play at first or DH won’t cause him to lose his 3B skills.

      If need be, the Cubs could play Olt off of third, and if he hits well it won’t hurt his value at all.

      1. D-Rock

        +1

    4. hansman

      If Olt returns to the player he was before the injury…why would you want to trade him?

      I love the discussions around here about trading off well-performing young players but then getting pissed when we trade away old guys on expiring contracts.

      1. CubChymyst

        Cubs have a lot of depth at the infield. If Castro and Rizzo stay you’ve got Baez, Alcantara, Bryant, Olt, and Villanueva to find spots for if they work out. Someone is going to get moved. Yes you could move someone to the outfield, but I’d rather trade a younger guy for some pitching. If you want good pitching back your going to have to give up a good player.

        1. CubFan Paul

          “and Villanueva to find spots for”

          Villanueva will be a Valbuena type. A better utility guy.

          1. CubChymyst

            Villanueva could be a utility guy. I’ve mentioned trading players before, but always with the caveat that enough of the guys work out. If the cubs want to trade for a pitcher they will need to give up something good to get a good one. If Villanueva and Olt can both play 3rd, do you keep both or trade one for a pitcher? If Olt can bring back a better pitcher do you trade him and keep Villanueva or trade Villanueva for a lesser pitcher and keep Olt?

        2. hansman

          If all 5 of them put you in the shoes of having to figure out where to play them, the only question mark you really have is CF (which, if that were the case it’d be Castro or Alcantara, probably).

          In that world I’d go:
          1B – Rizzo
          2B – Alcantara
          3B – Olt
          SS – Baez
          LF – Villanueva
          CF – Castro (hoping his range at SS translates)
          RF – Bryant

          If we are going the optimistic route, then you have to worry about Soler (trade Villanueva) and then Almora (trade Alcantara and move Castro back to SS and Baez to 2B) and then you hope the NL has the DH when Vogs comes up.

          1. CubFan Paul

            1B – Rizzo
            2B – Baez
            3B – Olt
            SS – Castro
            LF – Lake
            CF – Alcantara
            RF – Bryant

            That could be 2015

            1. twinkletoez

              1B – Rizzo
              2B – Watkins
              3B – Olt
              SS – Castro
              LF – Vitters
              CF – Lake
              RF – Jackson
              C – Castillo

              That could be 2014

              1. CubFan Paul

                “That could be 2014″

                I’m all for it. In another lost season, I’m super excited about player development

                Watkins, Vitters, Olt, Castro, BJax, ….(everyone you listed)

              2. twinkletoez

                I am glad I am not the only crazy person that would love to see that lineup, at least for a short period of time, during a lost season.

              3. Eternal Pessimist

                I suspect watkins will be a distant memory soon enough with all the better options we have now…stacked infielder porospet pool and all.

                1. hansman

                  Like Andres Blanco?

                  1. Eternal Pessimist

                    Who? :)

              4. Brocktoon

                1b Choi
                2b Hill
                SS Montanez
                3b Kelton

                1. Patrick W.

                  Montanez doesn’t belong on that list. He was still in Daytona when Choi and Hill were in Iowa.

                  1. Brocktoon

                    It’s referencing Hammond talking about the cubs infield of the future when Montanez was drafted

                    1. Brocktoon

                      *gammons

                    2. Patrick W.

                      Is that a universally known reference point? Sorry I wasn’t aware of it. I’ll send my protestations to Peter Gammons. :)

                    3. Brocktoon

                      Sorry just the way my memory remembers things instead of calculus or anniversaries

          2. Kyle

            I can’t imagine an older Castro moving back to SS after spending a year or more in CF. That’s almost always a one-way move.

            1. hansman

              The move wouldn’t be because he couldn’t handle SS, it’d be because him at CF and Baez at SS > Castro at SS and someone else in that list at CF.

              The only other scenario I could see there would be Baez at 2B and Alcantara at CF.

          3. CubChymyst

            I don’t see that line up happening if all of them work out, I see one getting traded for pitching. The most likely scenario is that one or 2 fail and it gets it self sorted out that way.

            1. hansman

              Ya, I was going to post that as a response to your comment above. I like to live in fantasy land where they all pan out close to ceiling and our offense is so amazing we don’t need to trade them for pitching.

              1. CubChymyst

                They all don’t have to workout, and we could still trade one or two for pitching. Lets say just Baez, Alcantara, and Bryant work out and all 3 can play the infield. One could still get traded for pitching instead of moving to the outfield.

                My point was the Cubs have depth, if Olt returns to form he could still get traded. Getting that TOR in free agency is looking less and less like a possibility, so it will likely need to get traded for from an area of depth which is currently the infield.

                1. bnile1

                  ‘so it will likely need to get traded for from an area of depth which is currently the infield.’

                  It’s also a position of strenght at 3rd base which is also a position the is very weak around baseball both at the Major and Minor league level. Villanueva was a AA allstar, it he can hit, someone will want him bad enough to trade for him.

                  They could alway have Olt play this year prove he can handle 3b at the majors then trade him next season when bryant is ready etc. All these situations are actually good problems to have. Competition has a way of solving these problems for you most of the time.

                  Heck they could even trade olt, villanueva and bryant, and play Baez at 3rd with alcantara at second. AS far as I’m concerned them more guys they “have” to trade, the better.

        3. YourResidentJag

          I’d rather see if Shark could be traded for that TOR type out of high A or AA ball instead of having to tap into any high potential offensive prospects whatsoever.

      2. CubFan Paul

        …I don’t want to trade Olt at all

        Seems i’ve been the only one here to point out the flawed thinking of trading Olt for whatever after a good 2014

        1. FullCountTommy

          If you get a top end starting pitching prospect with 1 potential for Olt after a good 2014, with the depth in the system, you absolutely take that deal

          1. CubChymyst

            It will likely take more than just Olt, but if he recovers he could be a good starting point.

          2. CubFan Paul

            “with the depth in the system”

            What 3B depth? Outside of Baez (who’s getting groomed for 2B) there’s no other slugging, plus defender that has Olt’s ceiling/upside.

            I expect the 6’5″ Bryant to be in the OF, with Olt at third.

            1. FullCountTommy

              In my opinion (and Jim Callis’ opinion), Baez is best suited to play third base. Bryant could be an average to slightly above average third baseman defensively and elite with the bat. Villanueva is a well above average glove with power potential at the plate. That is 3 players who could very well be able to start in the big leagues in 2015. A little further away, there is Jeimer Candelario.

              Third base is probably the deepest position in the Cubs minor league system

              1. CubFan Paul

                “In my opinion (and Jim Callis’ opinion), Baez is best suited to play third base”

                Mine too, but from Day One when Theo came here & was asked Baez’s future, the first thing he said was second base. And it’s still looking that way.

                Alcantara will probably need most of the season at AAA to work on his switch hitting.

                1. mjhurdle

                  I have seen the Theo’s comments from last Dec saying that Baez can play everywhere. And in 2012 he said that Baez could play 2B or 3B if the team needed him to change positions.
                  But it seems that the prevailing theme is that he will be a SS until they had to move him, not that he was being groomed for 2B.
                  Do you have a link or something for this? Not saying you are wrong, just want to see what he was saying, because if the plan is to have him at 2B, that would be interesting/exciting.

            2. CubChymyst

              I agree Bryant is most likely going to the outfield, but reports say he could be passable at 3rd. If Alcantara can play 2B I think he makes more sense there than Baez, which would push Baez to 3rd. Villanueva put up a good year in AA at 3rd. Personally I don’t have much hope for Olt, this is all figuratively speaking. If I had to make guesses for 2015 I’d put Rizzo 1B, Alcantara 2B, Baez 3B, Castro SS, Bryant OF. The other 2OF either prospects that surprise like Andreoli or free agent like Sweeney.

            3. Chad

              You can say that about Olt, but then you can’t say that Bryant does not possess a higher ceiling at 3b than Olt. You will say Bryant doesn’t have the glove, but Olt doesn’t have the power of Bryant, and currently does not have the same potential as an all around player. I’m not saying Bryant will or should stick at 3B, but based on upside alone Bryant has more than Olt.

              1. CubFan Paul

                ” but then you can’t say that Bryant does not possess a higher ceiling at 3b than Olt”

                I don’t view Bryant as a 3B (after seeing him in the AFL (rocket arm but no where near ‘plus’ at third base defensively))

                1. Chad

                  I know you don’t, but right now he is still a 3B prospect until the cubs move him off of that position right? So right now he is depth, and IMO he still has a higher ceiling (even at 3B) than Olt does.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    That’s not the topic and as you said it’s your opinion.

                    1. Fishin Phil

                      What makes his opinion less valid than yours?

                    2. FullCountTommy

                      The subject is the Cubs depth at third base in the Minor League system. Kris Bryant is currently a third baseman and until he is moved off of third base, he is part of the Cubs third base depth in the minors, regardless of your opinion on whether he can stick at third or not

                    3. CubFan Paul

                      “What makes his opinion less valid than yours?”

                      Never said it was. Just staying on topic.

                    4. Chad

                      I too was on topic, and that was of 3B depth, which is what Bryant is. How was I off topic. Are you arguing too many different things at one time that you actually forget what the topic is?

                    5. CubFan Paul

                      “How was I off topic”

                      The topic was Olt v Villanueva if Olt fails to make the team, not Bryant’s future ML position

                    6. Patrick W.

                      I’m going to wade in here and issue a ruling:

                      In the question of “what was the topic” I rule in favor of Paul. The topic was in fact Olt v Villanueva if they are both in Iowa to start the season.

                      That said, the initial topic was the above, but there were sub topics that turned the overall conversation into 3B depth. Therefore, adherence to the original topic cannot be reasonably expected.

                    7. Chad

                      Actually this was the original topic that sprouted into what I was discussing:

                      “What 3B depth? Outside of Baez (who’s getting groomed for 2B) there’s no other slugging, plus defender that has Olt’s ceiling/upside.

                      I expect the 6’5″ Bryant to be in the OF, with Olt at third.”-CFP

                    8. mjhurdle

                      Seems the topic was depth at 3B, at least in part.

                      This thread started with the topic being “Olt won’t be moved off of 3B for Villanueva because that would hurt Olts value”
                      There was debate about whether it would actually hurt his value moving to 1B for awhile.
                      Then Hansman asked why we would want to trade him if he had a good 2014.
                      You responded saying that you have been against trading him for some time now.
                      Someone mentioned that, with the depth at the 3B position, trading him isn’t out of the question if you get the right return.
                      The response to that was
                      “What 3B depth? Outside of Baez (who’s getting groomed for 2B) there’s no other slugging, plus defender that has Olt’s ceiling/upside.”
                      That is what started the “is Bryant 3B Depth” back and forth.
                      I will defer to Patrick W’s rulings of course, but i think that Chad was on topic with his posts.

                    9. mjhurdle

                      wow, wasn’t expecting a ruling so quickly.
                      Patrick W is the model of speed and efficiency in a judicial process.

                    10. Patrick W.

                      I’m sorry, but the very first post in the thread set the subject as this:

                      “Villanueva would stay in Tennessee before all that. Olt is still the better prospect & blue chipper that Villanueva is not.”

                      Please note in my ruling that I am ruling for Paul in the specific, but in the abstract, no reasonable poster or reader can be expected to only talk about that based on the sub topics in the thread. My ruling for Paul only pertains to what the topic was originally.

                    11. Chad

                      Patrick, after review you are correct that was the original post, however, I would now like to argue to the court that CFP did not stay on topic throughout the discussion as he stated he did. Thus losing credibility!

                    12. Patrick W.

                      Noted. Ruling stands.

                2. Fishin Phil

                  You said “I don’t view Bryant as a 3B”.

                  That is your opinion.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    “That is your opinion”

                    And others.

                    1. Jason P

                      And there are plenty of qualified others who also think he will stick at third.

                    2. Fishin Phil

                      Unless your mysterious others include members of the Cub’s Front Office, who cares?

                    3. CubFan Paul

                      “And there are plenty of qualified others who also think he will stick at third”

                      Who?

                  2. Patrick W.

                    My official ruling here is for Phil. Phil is right that “I don’t view Briant as a 3B” is Paul’s opinion, and the fact that others share that opinion is inadmissible.

                    1. Fishin Phil

                      I like this judge!

  6. Edwin

    I look forward to the inevitable posting of batting practice videos of Baez, and the 100+ comments that go with it.

    1. Norm

      I don’t look forward to the using of Spring stats to back up the “Baez should be on the team on Opening Day” comments.

      1. ced landrum

        I would be soooooo pissed if he made the team out of spring training. I am seriously pumped to see him and Alcantara in Iowa. Literally giddy with excitement.

        1. miggy80

          That’s what I’m talking about Ced. Maybe if we’re lucky Bryant makes his way up to Des Moines while Baez and Alcantara are still here.

          1. ced landrum

            I have a boner.

            1. Fishin Phil

              Well, if it lasts longer than 4 hours, call a doctor.

              1. ced landrum

                I hope it lasts longer then 4 hours. I haven’t been this excited about a AAA season since well ever. I was pretty pumped around 2001 and 2002 with He Soop, Bobby Hill, Zambrano and the short stay of Prior, and don’t forget Julio Zuleta. That man was huge.

      2. Kyle

        Thin air and a bunch of pitchers trying to get their arms warmed up for the season by grooving fastballs?

        Javy might hit 20 homers.

  7. When The Musics Over

    I thought the more interesting question in that fangraphs mailbag was if the Cubs and Mets would be a good match for a position player / starting pitcher prospect for prospect swap.

    What would you give up for Syndergaard?

    1. Jon

      Jeff Samardzija

    2. Jon

      Oh and those fangraphs chats are worthless, they are inundated with nerds asking questions about their keeper leagues. How about some actual baseball questions?

      1. When The Musics Over

        Kinda unfair, as even if that’s true, I don’t see how that means every single question is irrelevant.

        Anyhow, just always think prospect for prospect trades are interesting and that given the Cubs high-end starting pitcher quandary and the market in general, curious if they see an uptick.

  8. Patrick W.

    I doubt I’ll read anything funnier today than the last sentence in the Wellington Castillo bullet.

  9. itzscott

    This shapes up as the most interesting spring training that I can remember in a long time.

    My eyes and ears will be glued on Baez, Olt, Junior Lake, Vitters and Brett Jackson.

    Hard time imagining that ALL of them will fall on their faces with likely one or two of them with strong showings.

    Who’d I miss?

    1. Chad

      How about Bryant and Almora? I’d like to see how they do. Is Soler at ST? I am guessing yes, but don’t know.

      1. Luke

        Depending on Soler’s residency situation, he may not be able to report early as easily as guys like Almora and Baez can.

      2. Jon

        Much like rounding the bases, Soler will take his sweet ass time reporting to camp :)

    2. CubFan Paul

      “Who’d I miss?”

      As far as guys with a chance to make the team: Vitters, Lake, & Watkins

      Lake has started the last two years late because of Spring injuries.

    3. Darth Ivy

      I’m most excited about Bryant. I understand he didn’t play the whole season, but his numbers from 2013 were jaw dropping. If he does that again this year, how won’t he be the #1 overall prospect in baseball? I know, I know, that’s a big if. I don’t actually expect that, but I’m just trying to point out how ridiculous he was last year.

      For how highly he’s ranked, I still think he’s underrated

      1. CubFan Paul

        “I don’t actually expect that”

        I do expect a .300/.400/.600plus line at Tennessee

        1. Darth Ivy

          I think the key is that he never went through a slump which may have been an effect of only playing part of the season. We can only assume his inevitable slump will bring his .336/.390/.688 2013 numbers down a bit. Then we have to see how he gets himself out of it. Hoyer talked about this being the most important part of his development

          1. CubFan Paul

            I still expect a .300/.400/.600plus line at Tennessee

            1. Noah_I

              I think the split between his average and OBP is a little bullish, but I could see .300/.360/.600 at Tennessee, although my guess would be more along the lines of .280/.350/.550, just because I’m a bit more conservative. That would still be awesome in a pitcher friendly Southern League.

              1. Darth Ivy

                that’s my thought. .400 OBP might be a little high.

                I’m more impressed with his advnaced stats. His ISO makes me giggle

                1. Noah_I

                  Agreed. I love having two guys at the top of our system who have at least 70 power, and might both be 80s.

              2. Darth Ivy

                and his wRC+

      2. TheDondino

        Unless Byron Buxton graduates to the Bigs (very unlikely) or regresses (more unlikely than Bryant regressing), he keeps a lock on the #1 spot no matter how well Bryant does this year. If Bryant does explode, I think it’s more likely he comes up to Chicago to stay and gets taken off prospect lists altogether.

        1. Darth Ivy

          good point about Buxton.

  10. Spraying to all fields | Cubs Den

    […] Javier Baez is in spring training camp […]

  11. Spriggs

    Looks like Baez has gained a little weight… doesn’t look like muscle either.

    1. JB88

      Basis? Not challenging your observation, just looking for a source/pic to consider myself. Thanks.

    2. ced landrum

      That weight is just awesomeness and not fat buddy.

  12. CubChymyst

    I will chose to watch Conan before Fallon.

    1. Noah_I

      In some ways, Fallon is as much of an innovator of the format as O’Brien is, though. O’Brien is the far superior comedian, but I think that Fallon has really transitioned his shows from pure comedy and interviews to general entertainment and interviews. For example, the playing popular songs with elementary school classroom instruments thing isn’t funny, but it’s awesome.

      Overall, though, we’re probably in the best era of late night television, at least from 10 to 11:30 central time, at least since Johnny Carson retired. You have the back end of Letterman’s career on CBS, Fallon is far superior to Leno on NBC, Kimmel is far better than I thought he’d be on ABC and taken good advantage of his abilities to come up with entertaining pranks and be self deprecating, and on cable you have O’Brien, Stewart and Colbert.

      I don’t get to watch many late night shows, but that’s a solid set of options in that time frame.

    2. YourResidentJag

      I’m a Craig Ferguson watcher myself.

  13. Kyle

    Someone probably will get to free agency. And then he won’t be enough to turn us into a contender so we’ll pass on him.

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      Agree with the first part of your two part comment. I really think the cubs will be willing to overpay for one number one or number two pitcher with all other fielding and cost containment issues (and revenue?) finally adressed by the 2015 offseason.

      1. Brocktoon

        There won’t be a “#1″ on the market

        1. Eternal Pessimist

          Yeah, unless someone emerges in the 2014 as a legit #1 or they can trade for one somehow.

  14. MightyBear

    That last question to Hendricks was from me.

  15. JulioZuleta

    Have there been any reports about Baez’s physical shape? Not to be the guy that criticizes 21 year olds (I’m not THAT much older than him anyways), but I saw some pics on Twitter/Instagram, and he didn’t necessarily look like he was in playing shape, at all. Hopefully they were just bad pics. I would be slighty concerned if he reported to camp out of shape, especially after skipping the AFL because he as burnt out.

    1. CubFan Paul
      1. hansman

        I like how low the hoop is there. Makes me feel better about my upz.

      2. Isaac

        He looks to be in outstanding shape, from some of the pictures and videos I’ve seen. That being said, he certainly seems built more like a 3B/RF than a SS/2B.

      3. Eternal Pessimist

        Does this outfit make me look fat?

        Uhhhhhh…no dear.

    2. Jon

      It does look like he has a spare tire, doesn’t it?

      23kog0l.jpg

      1. JulioZuleta

        This is actually the picture I was mainly referring to. I’ve been busy the last couple days and hadn’t had a chance to look at the Spring Training pics/videos, but now that I have, I think it’s probably just a bad picture.

    3. DarthHater

      KFC > AFL

  16. woody

    So he ate well and had a few too many beers over the off season. Big deal! He does seem larger, but to me he looks strong as hell. You can’t tell with guys that age, because they are still growing. It looks to me like he may be growing into a corner infielder. All this talk about when he or the others come up is driving me crazy. So many are talking about Bryant coming up mid-year and Baez in June etc..I believe that Theo means what he says. If Baez cuts down on his strike outs and increases his walks along with improved defense then I think you will see him. The way attendance has been falling I think it may be a neccesity to have someone that can sell tickets. I personally don’t see Bryant coming up until September at the earliest. The intriguing thing about Baez last year was that when he got two a higher level in AA he doubled down and put up better number there than in Daytona. We just have to wait and see if he is challenged at Iowa and whether he can improve his plate disipline without affecting his hitting.

  17. Diehardthefirst

    According to 42 JR hit .625 in ST and still had to wonder if race would prevent call-up- — if any minor leaguer hits this much wonder what could prevent call up? Options!

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