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javier baez aflJust when you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to the prodigious power of Chicago Cubs top prospect Javier Baez …

We all heard about the cars that Baez’s batting practice homers dinged up at the outset of Spring Training, but it turns out that those weren’t the first cars that Baez’s mammoth strength and bat speed threatened to destroy.

According to AA Tennessee hitting coach Desi Wilson, Baez’s first round of batting practice this Spring Training actually took place on a different field (Cubs.com). There, Baez proceeded to deposit three or four balls over the wall onto the highway, so the Cubs moved him to a “safer” field. You know, the one where he ended up smashing windows.

The lesson? There is no safer field. If a Javier Baez homer wants to find you, it will.

(That Cubs.com piece is actually a good read on Baez, generally. But I can’t help but focus on the crazy power.)

  • MattM

    GOD that is AWESOME!!!!!

    If you guys all get a chance go to youtube and search baez’s swing slow motion v. gary sheffield’s swing! If that doesn’t get you excited for this kid I don’t know what will….

    I hope he hits .600 in April and the Cubs HAVE TO bring him up. This kind of shit snags me every year even though I always say I won’t buy MLB.tv until the Cubs are good.

    Yet again they are taking my money!!!

  • Kyle

    I love him so much. I want to retroactively rename my son.

    • 1ski

      I had the same idea,except when I called my son who is 35…..he uh …hung up on me…

  • 70′s Cub

    Bring him up to play 2nd base, Olt play 3rd, I would not complain about not seeing Barney and the righty/left 3rd base scrapped. Year 3 time let real infield prospects play, enough already. Cubs still can flip and strip for a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft.

    • Fastball

      Agreed…. If we were the Nat’s or a lot of other org’s these guys would just be moved up and start playing. We did it with Starlin. He did great until Sveum and Rowson screwed him up. Bring them up and let them play. They are all going to get signed to long term deals anyway so it doesn’t really have an effect on the Clock and when they get called up. I can see Baez, Bryant and Almora etc., all getting the long term deals long before anyone has to worry about Arbitration years etc. So if they are better than the guys in front of the just get on with it.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Not gonna happen for two reasons. Number one, because of service time and number two because this FO doesn’t want to lose out on that 2015 pick. Anybody can see that Baez could out perform Barney at second base, hands down. After the lack of FA signings and all the dumpster picks I hate to be Captain Obvious, but tanking this year seems to be part of the plan. I mean theo practically laid it out in spades for us. To the effect that money spent to be mediocre was simply wasted money if we can’t contend. And yes it does suck big time.

      • JadeBos

        Slow down a little! Baez has never played any position other than SS with the Cubs and no ABs in AAA.
        Also Casto had 9% SO rate in the minors that jumped to 14%in the bigs for 2010
        Baez had a 28.8% K rate in AA last year. And April in CHicago isn’t very homer friendly.

      • Q-Ball

        Cubs should take their time on Baez. Other poster mentioned service time, which is big. Let’s have him clear AAA before we aggressively promote.

        I would also rather have him not learn a new defensive position at the ML level; how about let’s do that at Iowa?

        Even if Javy rakes at AAA, we won’t see him before July, when the service clock for Super-2 status will be set back.

        We also need more clarity on where he is going to fit; with Castro, Alcantara, Olt, Villanueva, we need to see which of these guys hit to determine where Baez is best going to fit defensively. We should learn alot this year.

  • Edwin

    A Baez homer sounds like a villain in slasher flic. The boyfriend hears something, gets out of the car, and then BAM, HR ball to the windshield.

  • MattM

    If the Cubs get smart and move Baez to 2nd base I could easily see him eclipsing Sandberg in all 2nd base offensive categories except steals. Reason I say except steals is because while the hell would you risk such a talented guy stealing! There is no need….

    I think moving him to second will lesson his errors and take pressure off of him as well….They should just move him now!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Baez is never going to get close to Sandberg in OBP. I don’t put much stock in BA, but given that Baez is probably going to whiff close to 30% of the time, his BA is going to be pretty low, too.

      And, no, this had nothing to do with “maturity” or “experience”: Ryno finished AA at the same age as Baez and had a nearly 12% walk rate and a 1.3:1 K:BB ratio. Like most MLBers, Ryno’s miLB numbers did an excellent job of predicting his MLB numbers here.

      Now, Baez might surpass Ryno in HR. In fact, Baez is going to have to do so to stick in MLB to make up for what is going to be a consistently low OBP.

      Regardless, the Cubs should leave Javier at SS for as long as possible. The transition to 2B is not that difficult, and most of playing SS is a harder version of playing 2nd. (The shift on DP is the one exception.) Javier also retains a much higher value on trades while he is at SS: a 2-true outcome SS is simply worth more than a 2-true outcome 2Bman.

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Anyone know how we can keep up with the game the Cubs are playing right now against the Giants? Tried going to the Cubs website and it only listed info on the 2PM game.

    • Jon

      twitter is probably your best bet

      Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 14m
      Szczur drives ball deep to left — off wall out of reach of LFer for RBI triple. 1-0 Cubs over Giants in B tilt

      Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 11m
      Hammel is done after 2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 Ks. He faced 12 batters. #Cubs

      • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

        Thanks, I appreciate it.

        • CubFanBob

          @bleedcubbieblue is doing a per batter update ,,,he is at the game

          • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

            Yay! It’s like I’m almost watching…!

            • CubFanBob

              I know right, Cubs might even get a win today.

  • Fastball

    Maybe if nobody went to a game at Wrigley until they brought up everyone we want to see. Would that work?

  • Rebuilding

    Steamer already projects Baez to be a 5 Win player THIS year. He’s just one of those guys that seems to have “it”. A lot of those guys have made the jump from AA to the majors with worse stats than what he put up last year. I’m pretty certain they’ll start him in AAA, but it’s very possible he could hit 10 HRS in the first month in the hitter-friendly PCL

  • Seth

    From Jason Parks chat on Baez:

    “Baez has the best bat speed I’ve seen since I started evaluating talent at the minor league level, and it might be some of the best bat speed I’ve seen period. It’s violent—no doubt—and I’m not always sold that he can control the bat after he triggers. But when he unsheathes that weapon and it finds the ball, the cowhide screams in what I believe to both ecstasy and agony.”

  • Rebuilding

    “Unsheathes” – even worse. Phallic in nature

    • Jon

      When you apply to BP, instead of a resume, just send them list of dick jokes.

      • Rebuilding

        He’s evaluating baseball prospects, not curing cancer, Jon. Adding a few colorful metaphors isn’t such a big thing is it? You sound like the preacher from Footloose

        • jp3

          I can’t believe footloose has been used in this masculine conversation to prove a point successfully

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Any gentleman knows that he sheathes his sword after a duel. As a sword is the only proper weapon for a gentleman, the whole line makes perfect sense.

        I shall now go drown in a rainstorm…..

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I sure hope he is wearing a raincoat.

  • Jon

    Al Yellon ‏@bleedcubbieblue 11m
    Bryant doubles down left field line

  • ColoCubFan

    I would guess the plan is to try him at different positions at AAA, and at the least keep him down there long enough to get another year of control since 2014 is already a wash!

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m kind of pissed right now. I bought a $15 radio to listen to the game on WGN and the reception is so bad I can’t get the station. I live in Elkhart, In. and have no problem getting it in my car. Any suggestions like maybe a coat hanger antena or something.

    • Edwin

      If you have a smart phone or other mobile device, just pay the $19 for the MLB audio app.

      If that’s not available, try putting your radio or antenna closer to a window, or higher up in the house.

      If that doesn’t work, try going on more road trips.

      • ssckelley

        Just curious, I have the app and paid the $19 but I am not seeing this make up game anywhere on it. Do you?

        • Edwin

          I’m not seeing it.

    • Baron A. Redsie

      Woody, I know the feeling… I live in Mishawaka and have offices in both Mishawaka and South Bend and I cannot pull in WGN on any portable radio… I’ve tried both cheap and expensive, but all I get is static. I have a subscription to MLB.com, but I have to be careful not to use that too much, otherwise the “bandwidth police” get involved, if you know what I mean.

      You would think one could find an AM radio that would work, but no luck yet. The only saving grace is that these games are meaningless and will be for a few more years. You can bet that If/when the Cubs ever begin making the “competitive” noise, I will be scrambling to find a more reliable answer.

      • Edwin

        That always happened to me too. I’ve never really had any success in getting a decent AM signal inside at work.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        When I was a kid back in the 60′s before all of the FM craze WLS Chicago was what we listened to all the time. And I remember WGN came in just fine too. They must not have the signal strengh that they used to have. Ay $3.50 a gallon for gas I can’t afford to just drive around to listen to the game in my car.

  • Q-Ball

    I mentioned above, but another reason to hold off on Baez, besides service time and the fact that he hasn’t played AAA yet, is where he fits in the organization.

    We need to see who among Castro, Alcanatara, Olt, and Villenueva can hit. If all 4 can that’s a good problem to have, but if there is a hole between 3b-ss-2b, Baez can fill all of those. Don’t we want to see before we commit to a position? What if Alcantara rakes, but Olt fails? Wouldn’t 3B be a better option?

    • 70′s Cub

      Q-ball, the time is now to give the playing at 2nd/3rd to real prospects. Of the four prospects you mentioned the other two get full time PT/AB’s at AAA. Alcanatara should be focused on becoming a MLB impact lead off hitter, he can play CF/LF plus 2nd, Olt play 1st. 3rd. corner OF, Baez at 2nd is huge long term solution for the Cubs 40 HR at that spot will out pace the Card’s production. Castro/Rizzo are proven hitters! I expect the FO to flip/strip the roster for a top 5 2015 pick plus another year of top waiver wire status. Also, I like to see Vitters get 300 MLB bats this year along with Jackson getting some type of closure do/die chance.

  • Jon

    Al Yellon ‏@bleedcubbieblue 14m
    Alcantara doubles past 1b. Ball hits umpire

    Al Yellon ‏@bleedcubbieblue 12m
    Almora singles to left off 3b glove. Alcantara scores. 3-0 cubs

    • Jon

      Al Yellon ‏@bleedcubbieblue 12m
      Bryant singles to right. Almora scores, Olt to third. 4-0 cubs

      Young fella’s doin work!

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        I really think the prospect group could beat the big league club in a game.

        • ssckelley

          Not sure if I am happy or sad about that.

        • mjhurdle

          I think that *maybe* the prospect group beats the big league team 1 out of every 10 games.

          • ssckelley

            I would take the over on that.

  • ssckelley

    Would it be within the realm of possibility that Szczur wins that 4th or 5th outfielder spot?

    • Jon

      I’d take him over Coughlan

    • johnnyp

      I don’t believe he’s even played AAA yet.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Since he’s on the 40-man, it’s possible. But since he hasn’t yet played – let alone succeeded – at AAA, it seems remote. Then again, he’s probably not a future star/starter, so there isn’t quite as much downside in “rushing” him.

      • johnnyp

        Has there been any indication as to where he will go, if he doesn’t make it to the show out of spring training?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Not yet. He did a full tour at AA, so AAA makes sense; but he didn’t destroy AA, and the AAA outfield could be tricky for regular starts if the Cubs want Vitters, Jackson, Silva and Kalish all getting regular time.

      • ssckelley

        The thought crossed my mind that they would send Szczur to AAA to save a year of arbitration but like you said the star/starter potential is unlikely. If he out hits and out plays all of these dumpster dives the Cubs have brought in then why not?

        • johnnyp

          Ya. I see the why not, I just don’t see the why. He wasn’t exactly killing it at AA last year. Lots of singles and ground balls if I remember correctly. Wasn’t he a two sport guy with a big learning curve?

          • ssckelley

            No he wasn’t killing it in AA and I doubt playing AAA makes any difference. The jump from AA to the majors is not huge and many players have done it. He occupies a spot on the 40 man roster so it might be worth keeping Szczur on the active roster instead of trying to make room for a guy like Coghlan or Kalish.

            • Norm

              The jump from AA to the majors isn’t huge?
              I couldn’t disagree more.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I assume he meant relative to the jump from AAA to the majors. Because yeah, obviously the jump from AA to the majors is about as big as it gets (for jumps that happen regularly, anyway).

              • ssckelley

                Not what I meant, let me explain so we don’t get off on a tangent. The jump from AA to the majors is almost the same as from AAA to the majors. Yes, the jump to the majors is huge from any level.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    So far Almora and Bryant have multiple hit games going.

  • Darth Ivy

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