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cactusAnother day at Cubs Park, and it was another enjoyable one. It didn’t hurt that they had a food truck serving gourmet sliders.

The Cubs lost the game, though, which would have served as more of a damper if the game didn’t include a Javy Bomb.

  • Jeff Samardzija got hit quite a bit, but from where I sat, he wasn’t really throwing anything but fastballs. Really not a lot to take away from his performance.
  • I’m not sure if you can say the same for Chris Rusin, who’s trying to win a job in the rotation, and seemed to labor. He didn’t get much help behind him, though, including a Little League-style grand slam (Rusin had loaded the bases, and the clearing took place after he departed) on a single and at least one very ill-advised throw by Christian Villanueva.
  • Josh Vitters saw some time in left, dropping a pop fly in foul territory (it was right on the cusp of the shadows from the grandstand, so that probably impacted things, but still). He did stroke two nice singles, though, and his swing does look pretty sweet.
  • Brett Jackson whiffed a couple times, and really seemed to be pulling off the ball (to my very untrained eye). Junior Lake also had serious contact issues today, seemingly whiffing on everything at which he swung (which was a lot).
  • Untold by our homer love is the fact that Javier Baez also did quite a bit of whiffing today, particularly early when he was facing more big league-ish pitching (the homer came off a decent, but journeyman-ish minor leaguer). He swung at the first five pitches he saw, missing a couple, fouling off a couple, and popping one up. He also fouled a ball off of his foot, terrifying everyone in attendance for the 30 seconds he lay motionless on the field. The homer came after that, so I’m guessing it was just a case of “holy crap ow,” rather than “holy crap I’m injured.”
  • Armando Rivero struck out one in his scoreless inning, but he did give up three hits.
  • George Kottaras did what he can do: he hit a homer and took a walk. Given the team’s affection for his dog at camp, his penchant for walking, and his Greek background, I’d say it’s fair to call him – or his dog – the Greek Dog of Walks.
  • Ryan Kalish got on base a couple times, and did the kind of dirtball hustle stuff that most fans eat up. If he can pair some baseball talent with it now that he’s finally healthy, he could be a great piece to have.
  • Christian Villanueva had a nice solid single in his one at bat.
  • blublud

    I know you say he did some swing and missing, but did he actually SO any?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Baez? Yes, once.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I kind of hope the Cubs makes sure Baez improves upon his plate approach at Iowa before they call him up.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          As great as Baez is, his approach isn’t great. I saw him a couple times last year and the kid swings at everything. Not quite to the level of Junior Lake but from what I saw he needs to be much more selective. Yes he can crush the ball but still would be nice to see him wait for his pitch

          • MightyBear

            I agree. I also don’t think his range is very good at shortstop. I think they need to switch him around to get him comfortable at other positions, especially third.

            • Cubz99

              I don’t know if you are basing this on games that you’ve seen him, but the games I saw him, his range was impressive. He got to a pop up that it looked like nobody would get, and just missed a grounder that initially looked like he had not shot at.

              I agree that his plate approach might need some refinement, but I was impressed with is defense. Also, as long as he continues to hit the snot out of everything I think the Cubs can live with his aggressive approach.

              • 5412

                Hi,

                I know a scout who has followed him for years and knows him very well. He tells me Baez is just a great and natural athlete and could play anywhere in the field, including catching. I think that is reinforced by the fact the team is not too concerned about finding a place for him to play.

                If Castro bounces back, to me Baez is much better suited to move to a power position; one where you expect the player to hist more home runs and not hurt you defensively.

                regards,
                5412

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              From what I saw of him in Tennessee, I’d put his range in the average to above average territory. He’ll fine at shortstop until (or unless) he muscles up enough that he starts to lose a step or so.

              • MightyBear

                I saw a few grounders this spring that he didn’t get to that Castro would’ve gotten to. Castro might not have made the play but he’d have gotten to the ball. One would have saved a run. Running down pop ups isn’t the same as getting to ground balls in the hole or up the middle. He’s stout and probably going to get stouter. Probably best at third. He has the arm for it and his lack of range at short would be plus range at third.

                • David

                  I agree. Keep Castro at short. But what happens when Olt has his breakout year at 3rd??? Arghh. Lots of decisions.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  I wouldn’t compare Player A’s early spring training range to Player B’s mid-season range, at least not like this. Our range data are still a little primitive, but they already suggest that a player’s range can vary a bit from month to month: you really need about 3 years or so of data to get a handle on what is “typical” for a guy. That suggests that fairly small things can affect range: which means big things (like having not fielded in a while) should really affect range.

            • Hee Seop Chode

              @Mightybear – just curious, why do you prefer Baez at third? His bat profiles well everywhere, and 3rd seems to be the organizations greatest strength.

              • Norm

                His arm.

          • Seth

            He knows this and is currently working on it.

            Per ESPN (http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/21700/baez-mailbag-prefers-2b-after-ss):

            What are you trying to improve on most this season in preparation for the bigs? — Alex (New Milford, Conn.)
            JB: I’ve been hitting a lot of breaking balls and reading the ball if it’s going to be a strike or not. Trying to lay off those ones that end up out of the strike zone.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Almost ironically, one of the things that worries me about Javier stems from his incredible bat speed. With such bat speed, Baez starts swinging later than any player on the Cubs roster: if he started at the same time as guys with normal bat speeds, then he’d be way out in front of everything, not just well-thrown breaking balls. However, despite getting to look an extra couple of feet (and some handful of nanoseconds) longer than other batters, Baez still shows pretty poor pitch recognition.

            We can talk (or write) all we want about “working” on pitch selectivity, but as we saw with Castro last year, that introduces one huge rub: nobody knows what “work” you can do! The only time a guy sees real pitching is during a game, after all.

            • http://bleachernation.com woody

              He has specifically been working on hitting breaking balls in practice. Just because Castro struggled doesn’t mean Baez will. I don”t really think it is that hard in most cases to recognize a breaking ball due to the speed differential. The trick is being able to tell if it is a chase pitch or a strike.

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                And here is the great mystery Doc and us have been talking about for years- Can a player learn and improve pitch recognition? Or is just a natural instinct one can not improve?

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                Castro was an experiment on this that looks like it failed miserably.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                That won’t help him differentiate a strike from a ball when he has no clue what is coming. It will help his timing when he recognizes that it is a breaking pitch.

                We just have to hope that either his K rate has been grossly inflated like no other prospect before by an overly aggressive approach that has seemingly gotten worse and worse. Or that he doesn’t go the way of Brett Jackson and K 45% of the time in the bigs.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  What interesting with Baez is that each level he started with a horrible K rate but as he adjusted it went down to a rate that can be successful with his power. I will be watching his AAA rates over the first couple months. It’s still a very concern issue since K rates rarely go down as one progresses.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  Baez’s approach hasn’t gotten worse and worse. It improved markedly in Daytona, and then again once he adjusted in Tennessee.

                  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                    It’s that adjustment he’s made at each level that makes me an interesting case. If he can maintain a 20%ish K rate his power will make everyone forget the Ks. But if he is closer to 30% it will be harder to live with. I just hope he doesn’t turn I to a K or HR hitter.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Well his K rates have been getting worse and worse.

                      Maybe he is a true low 20s K guy and he gets too ramped up for the new level or the different instructors cause him to take a bit to settle in.

                      In re looking at Brett Jackson it just seems like we are seeing a repeat of “oh the k rates are because of X and they’re ok because of ABC” and then everyone is wondering how Theo and Co screwed him up.

                      If Baez is a legitimate 50 HR kinda player, then the K’s don’t matter as much. If his K’s are a real skill concern then you’re suddenly staring down the barrel of a player that might not be able to sustain a BABIP high enough to out- OPS CASTRO.

  • Seth

    Hey Brett, will you be at the game tomorrow or Friday?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No on both counts – leaving on Friday; and tomorrow I’m going to try and see some of the practice stuff that’s going on at the Cubs facilities.

      • Seth

        Darn, well I will be at the next four games. Just missed ya then.

        • Cizzle

          Seth,
          I had a rain out on Saturday and they gave me a ticket to Friday’s game vs. Cleveland. I wasn’t staying that long, so I left it for Brett under his name, but then I found out he’s leaving before then. You (or anyone else) are welcome to it if you’d like.

  • bazfan1234

    Brett, how did Junior Lake look at the plate? I know it is early but he has really struggled with the soft stuff. He has a lot of strike out’s and has yet to get a hit in ST.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As long as you promise not to take it for more than it’s worth (one day, one guy watching from far away, in March), I would say that he looked lost at the plate.

      • Blackhawks1963

        The pixie dust might be wearing off on Junior Lake. I’m simply not sold on him being major league prepared at this stage. Maybe someday? We shall see.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          The pixie dust of small sample sizes wears off very quickly.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That’s the thing with Lake. When I saw him in 2012, he looked completely lost in one at bat, and in the very next at bat was locked in, balanced, fouled off some tough pitches, and then sent a line shot straight over the center field fence.

        The talent is there, but there is just no consistency.

  • Diehardthefirst

    How quickly these hot shots fall out of favor! Half of them will be out of baseball in 5 years

  • Diehardthefirst

    Forgot the obligatory 😀

  • Beast Mode

    Am I crazy for comparing Lake with Michael Jordan??! Seems they are/were similar players. Hopefully I Am wrong and Lake is better of course.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Huh? Jordan the baseball player? As in, couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag and was a bad outfielder? Vs. Junior Lake who got called up to the majors and was put in the outfield because he was an athletic but error-prone infielder? I’m not big on Lake, but I’m not seeing the comparison…

    • blublud

      No matter if Lake makes it or not, what he did last year alone proves he better than Michael the baseball player.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        I wonder what Jordan could have done had he focused solely on baseball for 8 years from 15-23 and didn’t try to pick it up at 31 after playing a sport that involved very different skills.

        • ssckelley

          I agree, I always thought it was incredible what he did do at the age of 31 going straight to AA.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            Yeah he’s an amazing athlete but I’m certain he made the right choice when he decided basketball over baseball ;)

            • Diehardthefirst

              We all feel better knowing that you are certain

            • ssckelley

              I agree, I doubt he would have ever been the greatest baseball player ever like he was in basketball.

              • blublud

                Oscar Robinson averaged 30.5 pts, 10.1 rbds, 9.7asst as a rookie. 30.8/12.5/11.4 in his 2nd season. 30 points 10 assist five different times. 30 points 10 rebounds 3 different times, at least 9 rbds and 10 asst, or 10 rbds and 9 asst in the same season 5 times, all while taking fewer shots than Jordan and being a great shooter but never having the benefit of the 3pt line.

                He’s the only player to average a triple double in season in league history, the only player to ever average both 10 rbds and 10 asst at different points in there career and the only player to do both, together and seperately, while scoring 30 points a game.

                Jordan was great, but the Big O was the greatest ever.

                • Edwin

                  It’s Oscar Robertson, I believe.

                  • blublud

                    Yeah, it is.

                • C. Steadman

                  the greatest ever in any sport can’t be decided…there’s arguments for Oscar, Dr J, MJ, LeBron, Kobe, Bill, Bird, Shaq..etc, Big O is up there and super underrated compared to the other greats, especially since he couldn’t take advantage of the 3

                  • blublud

                    Take Kobe, Dr J and Russell off that list, add Chamberlain, Jerry West and Tim Duncan and I agree with this.

                    • C. Steadman

                      it wasn’t a list i just typed a few names off the top of my head quick, but people can make arguments for Kobe Dr J and Russell, not saying I am, but I’ve heard some good arguments for each

                    • Spriggs

                      And don’t forget my uncle Bob. Pettit that is. NBA all time leading scorer before Wilt came along. Man does he have some funny stories about Wilt. Says one reason he scored so much and got so many rebounds was because he smelled so bad (would never allow his uniform to be washed).

                      Oscar was awesome. The 3rd best ever on my personal list. (Jordan, Wilt, O). But most people’s all time teams don’t even have Oscar as one of the starting guards. You usually see some combo of Jordan, Magic and West.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    A few things seperate Jordan from all the others. Not only was he a great scorer, but he was the best (or one of the best) defenders of his time. He dominated defensively just like he did offensively. He was also a great leader. And finally, his competitiveness was off the charts, as seen in the flu game. Plus the clutch shots. Oh, the clutch shots. He had it all….oh, Michael [eyes fluttering]

                • ssckelley

                  blub, just like I was not able to convince you the Barney to Almora comparison was wrong you will NEVER convince me that there was a better basketball player ever in the history of the NBA than Michael Jordan.

                  • C. Steadman

                    amen, i’m a Jordan #1 supporter as well

                  • blublud

                    Not trying to convince you, but the stats don’t lie. Jordan could never do what big O has done, and Lebron will surpass him eventually.

                    This coming from a North Carolina boy, who’s uncle played at UNC and in the NBA, and who grew up worshiping Jordan. I guess it doesn’t hurt that he coaches Lebron now. He tell you Oscar was better.

                    • C. Steadman

                      stats dont lie but are very deceiving from different eras…c’mon you should know that since this is a baseball blog after all, also many other NBA players not your “uncle” will say Jordan

                    • Jon

                      Jordan 6 titles
                      Robertson 1 Title

                      Case closed

                    • Spriggs

                      If you’re going by titles, is Russell better than Jordan?

                    • blublud

                      Yeah, but those guys never played in Oscar’s era. I don’tneed tthey opinion though. I’ve seen enough, though limited games, plenty high lites. I never seen anyone like Oscar.

                      He could pass like Magic or Pistol Pete, score like Jordan or Jerry West, shoot(no 3pt line) like Kevin Durant, rebound like a Power Forward, didn’t turn the ball over, and if steals were a stat then, probably be at the top of that list. Dude was unlike anyone ever.

                    • cubbiekoolaid2015

                      Jordan was 6-6 in winning titles. LeBron is 2-4 with no clutch shots and he’d be 1-4 if it wasn’t for Ray Allen. LeBron will never pass Jordan for that fact alone… Give Mike Lebron’s physical attributes and I bet he would of been 10-10 in title victories and averaged nearly 40 a game. Jordan was the best and always will be the best basketball player of all time.

                    • blublud

                      Title don’t make you great. If so,

                      Robert Horry 7
                      Michael Jordan 6

                      Case Closed

                    • cubbiekoolaid2015

                      Blublud, have you heard of Magic Johnson? He did everything pretty well and had more titles to show for it…

                    • blublud

                      If was wasn’t for Kerr, Paxton, BJ Armstrong and Bill Wennington, how many would Jordan have.

                      Russell said it best, my rings don’t make me the greatest, it just means I had the best team.

                    • mjhurdle

                      “If was wasn’t for Kerr, Paxton, BJ Armstrong and Bill Wennington, how many would Jordan have?”

                      6

                    • blublud

                      Magic Johnson also had my uncle, Abdul Jabbar, Worthy and so many other players on his team who themselves were great, that they could have rings without Magic.

                    • cubbiekoolaid2015

                      Well, I can’t deny the Bulls had the best all around team but as proven when Jordan retired the first time, they couldn’t win it without him… Then couldn’t be stopped with him.

                    • blublud

                      Mjhurdle, I guess none of those guys hit game winners in the finals for the bull. Jordan has one finals game winner, the last shot he took in the finals, and even that was an offensive foul.

                    • cubbiekoolaid2015

                      Your uncle was one lucky man. Serious question. How many rings does he have? I’m jealous :)

                    • blublud

                      My uncle is a hall of famer, has 3 scoring titles, a MVP trophy, 2 rings as a player for the Lakers and 3 as a Heat assistant.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I get your vendetta BluBlud. I respect your right to hold that opinion, but I have no problem believing that it wouldn’t matter who you put around Jordan, he would still go 6 for 6 in the Finals. His focus is just that legendary.
                      These debates are impossible seeing as how the players played in different eras. At that point pure statistical comparisons fail. Every makes their own decision, and no one can prove anyone else right or wrong, and rarely even make a solid enough argument to change another’s mind.
                      For my part, I can’t say who was the all-time best, so I give my vote to the player who another top 20 all-time player called “God disguised as Michael Jordan” because he was so unstoppable.

                    • ssckelley

                      When Jordan decided to take over a game no one could stand in his way. I have no statistical evidence to prove it, only that god forsaken eye ball test that everyone hates around here. Again to me Jordan is the greatest ever and it is a waste of time to even try to convince me otherwise.

                    • blublud

                      To me, Oscar is the greatest, and one day soon, Lebron will take that title. There are only 2 players I’ve seen that I can say I seen do things no one else could do, and that Lebron and Oscar, so either one gets my vote.

                    • C. Steadman

                      i’m guessing your uncle is mcadoo?

                    • blublud

                      Yes

                    • C. Steadman

                      nice

                    • Baron A. Redsie

                      That’s awesome!… and you are James?

                      I attended Vincennes University, years ago, and Bob McAdoo was obviously legendary there, as he had played there early on in his collegiate career.

                    • blublud

                      That was before he transferred to Carolina.

                    • blublud

                      No, James is my little cousin and plays at Carolina right now. Bob is technically my cousin, but in my family, if they are older, we call everyone uncle or Auntie.

                    • ssckelley

                      OMG you’re black!

                      :D

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “I attended Vincennes University”

                      Shroom College of Southern Indiana

                    • blublud

                      No shit kelley

                    • C. Steadman

                      easy blu she was just joking around, didnt you say yesterday you like to joke and stuff?

                    • ssckelley

                      Did I make you look? You know….to verify nothing’s changed?

                    • ssckelley

                      I love it when people come to my defense.

                      [img]https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTJZA3B_iFmwwcM-hwt3WIeBCW_ZRF6105hbKNNJyHtplXtlSho1w[/img]

                      Thank you big boy……..

                      :D

                    • DarthHater

                      Okay, time to update your avatar. :-P

                    • ssckelley

                      No way, Clark is awesome!

                    • blublud

                      Sorry Steadman, I was joking. I guess I should have put the :)

                    • blublud

                      As much as I deal with Kelley, I hope it wasn’t taken to serious.

                    • C. Steadman

                      no worries blu, it does add a little sunshine to a comment though
                      No shit kelley vs

                      No shit kelley :)

                    • ssckelley

                      Naw, it would not have been as funny if he had included the smiley.

                      I just like giving Blub shit. He is one of my favorite posters here and it isn’t because we ever agree on anything.

                    • blublud

                      We’ve agreed before on something, I know.

                    • DarthHater

                      It’s especially fun to call him “Blub.” :-D

          • Diehardthefirst

            Yea- it’s amazing what a little motivation like being banned for life will do

            • blublud

              He wasn’t banned for life. I do believe there was a chance he was suspended, and that it had a lot to do with his gambling, but there was never a lifetime ban, I don’t believe.

              I have heard stories that he was banned, and when the leagues ratings dropped without him, Stern decided to let him return. Just depends what you are willing to believe or not.

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                No never, I believes he still has ownership stake with a NBA team. Another made up fact hidden in a conspiracy brought to you by DieHardian Mind.

                • blublud

                  He doesn’t have ownership stake, the is the majority owner and the only one has has say so in what will be the Charlotte Hornets, once again, in a few months.

                  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                    Thx I’ve been so unattached to the NBA for years that I don’t know what he was doing but I knew he involved in ownership.

                    • blublud

                      I’m a North Carolina boy. My mother lives in Charlotte and works directly across the street from the Arena. If Jordan sneezes around those parts, it makes news.

              • CubFan Paul

                There was a lot of smoke to those gambling/suspension rumors (his dads death…).

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                Yeah but in the DieHardian Universe he is banned and working with Bud on a way to bring the Cubs to Cuba. It’s a strange strange universe.

                • blublud

                  The Cub to Cuba and ran by Mark Cuban so they can change their name to the Cubans.

                  • C. Steadman

                    hahahaha nice

                  • ChrisFChi

                    I doubt the CIA would let that happen

            • ssckelley

              Stern was a smart guy, he knew better than to ban the greatest basketball player ever. The NBA needed Jordan more than he needed the NBA.

            • ChrisFChi

              Jordan was never banned or suspended from the NBA for gambling. All that was brought to light after his playing career was over. I believe he went to court over gambling debts, I don’t recall.

              • blublud

                The rumor is he was suspended, but Stern allowed him to make it look like retirement so he wouldn’t appeal, to protect his image. These rumors started while he was still playing baseball, not after he retired. I don’t know if they are true, but they certainly didn’t just pop up.

                • bbmoney

                  That’s the thing about rumors and accusations. We can’t really be sure if they’re true without actual evidence.

                  • blublud

                    Some rumors are more believable than others.

                    • ChrisFChi

                      All the rumors began when one of MJ’s buddies wrote that tell all book. I vaguely remember the local news saying in the book Jordan was a prolific gambler and had debts with unsavory people. Some even claimed that his father died as a result of his gambling debts(like a mob hit) thou there was no evidence to even slightly support that conspiracy. Either way, MJ is still the greatest athlete Chicago has ever seen.

        • blublud

          I don’t. He was such a great basketball player, the 2nd greatest ever, at least at the time, that I have no desire to wonder what he would have done. Beside, he could have been great, but still never eclipsed what he did in the NBA.

  • E

    I’m really pulling for Vitters. He’s always hit and I think his bat would play in the majors. I’ve given up on Jackson.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Hey guys just a heads up. Jayson Park’s from baseball prospectus is going to be on 87.7 “the game” tonight talking cubs prospects, if you want to tune in.

    http://tunein.com/radio/The-Game-877-s100380/

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Jayson Parks on 87.7 “the game” now. Talking Cubs prospects.

      http://tunein.com/radio/The-Game-877-s100380/

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Did you just reply to yourself with the exact same info, I’m guessing this is another example of why we want the edit button back ;)

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          haha yes

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            We so need real baseball to start, been a long long winter.

  • Joshua Edwards

    I can see how his primary strength (bat speed) could play to his weakness: it may help him get away with swinging at some bad balls because he makes occasional contact others wouldn’t (hence it seems like he “almost got it to it”), and when he does get a piece of it, maybe he gets some hits or dingers that other wouldn’t. Could that be due to bat speed making up for poor recognition?

    Does this potentially help explain why he whiffs at a high rate? He can’t really get to everything–he just thinks he can and sometimes gets away with it.

    Aggression and power can make a living on minor-league pitching. But I don’t know if that bat speed alone will carry a MLB career, considering the 30% K rate some have mentioned.

    For the 2014 Chicago Cubs and Baez, the clear question is the next step: what he looks like at AAA Iowa for a couple months. I think that will say a lot about whether he gets time with the big boys this season.

    Long term, he has time to grow and learn, but the big picture question does seem to be pitch recognition. And it’s a tough thing to pin down: some guys seem to figure it out, some guys just seem to have it, and some guys never quite get it.

    Off the cuff, it appears to me that in a post-steroid era where Castro can make a living with a Vladimir Guerrero version of the K-zone, then the upside of Baez’ natural power means he’s got to be useful somewhere in the IF to some team.

    Admittedly, I have not looked at the projections, traditional or advanced, I’m just spitballin’. And I would be curious to know what the evidence seems to indicate or imply. But no matter what, I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m rooting for him.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I do wonder what other team internet forums would be willing to give up to get him and specifically what teams are willing to give up for him.

      • blublud

        Not enough. I’m not sure this FO would trade him for Buxton right now.

    • ssckelley

      I have given up trying to over analyze Baez on how/why he does what he does. To me the fact he gets away with that waggle and when he swings it looks like he is trying to kill the ball every time is amazing. These are things coaches look to correct at any level, even down in little league. People keep trying to find a comparison, a swing like Sheffield, pitch recognition like Vlad but neither of those guys ever struck out the rate Baez does. Baez strikes out at a rate that makes Gorman Thomas look good, and that comparison is bad as Thomas walked more.

      Maybe they broke the mold with Baez, perhaps he is that one of a kind player that comes along once in a million.

      • Sandberg

        The significant difference in SO% once Baez adjusts to a level is the thing that I hang my hope on. It’s always suspect when you hear people saying, “Maybe this time it’s different.”

        • ssckelley

          I have mentioned that a lot on here and I have seen the stats of his SO rate. But exactly what is he adjusting, is it emotional or is he tinkering with his approach or stance at every level? Is the pitching that much different where you have to adjust to the speed or adjusting to better or more breaking pitches? The FO kept promoting him with the idea he would eventually stumble and allow adjustments to be made, but Baez keeps proving everyone wrong.

          I remember last season he got off to a bad start in Daytona, in fact Soler was the guy we were all ewwwing and ahhhing over. I remember reading reports that Baez may have had the fact he was in the big league camp go to his head a little bit. Again maybe Baez is unique and will be that guy people compare other players to.

          • C. Steadman

            George Springer has a high SO% in the minors also so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles his first MLB experience, I know they are different players and will react differently but similar SO% and both have great power…I’m be following his season to see what i could maybe see from Baez, cant put too much weight in it, but still interesting

            • ssckelley

              But then again Springer walks twice as much as Baez, in fact so far this spring he already has 5 walks in 10 PA (no home runs I might add).

              Springer is 3 years older and his walk rate did improve as he advanced through the minors. It is possible Javy can make some of the same improvements.

              • C. Steadman

                yeah not a perfect match i was just more going along the lines of SO% translating to MLB, because not even Dunn struck out as much in the minors as Baez and Springer…maybe better comp would be Chris Davis…MiLB 25% Krate/8% BBrate

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  Even Davis wasn’t King as much and BBing as little (in his pre-MLB-Callup MiLB) as Baez .

                  Baez is in rarified air here. If he succeeds, it will be a first; if he fails, it will be a rarity.

                  • C. Steadman

                    yeah i know, I’m just trying to find some hope to hold onto that Baez Krate/BBrate in the minors can still succeed at the majors…i trying too hard to find a good comp, best was Davis but it wasnt that good…heres to hoping that Baez becomes more polished since he’s still young for the levels he was at yet still tore them apart(even with the Krates)

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      I’ve been searching for the better part of a year and there just isn’t a good comp.

                      Although, I am coming to the realization that I don’t think we have seen Baez’s true BB rate yet which could swing him from “Remember when Baez was a big deal?!?!?” to a SS playing Stanton.

                • ssckelley

                  Good comparisons are hard to find, another thing that makes Javy different is that he is having this success while playing shortstop. If he sticks in the infield that bat will become even more valuable and he can get a way with some of his shortcomings. When you have 1st basemen coming up or a corner outfielder teams are not as tolerant since you expect to get more offensive production at those positions. Will we really care if Javy strikes out 200 times if he is hitting 30 to 40 home runs per year while playing 2nd base or shortstop?

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    The question is, can he keep up the production if he is striking out 200 times a year (indicating a severe contact issue)?

                    Assuming he could put up a similar power production to Cabrera and the likes on BIP, he could, in theory, post a .750 OPS with a 35% K rate.

                    • ssckelley

                      Long term I would think he has to make adjustments if he is going to have success at the MLB level into his 30s. Eventually that bat speed will slow down and he will have to learn how to make more contact. Again he is still only 21 so there is plenty of time for growth, I just struggle to find who has done it before.

                  • C. Steadman

                    “Will we really care if Javy strikes out 200 times if he is hitting 30 to 40 home runs per year while playing 2nd base or shortstop?”

                    wont hear me complaining

                    • ssckelley

                      Me neither! I would take a Gorman Thomas or Adam Dunn like production out of someone that plays short or 2nd, even without the walks.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                And one important caveat needs to be added to Springer: his increased BB frequency is still indistinguishable from a constant rate of about 12.2 BB per 100 PA. Yes, he was doing 15.4% in AAA: but that was in all of 266 PAs. (His 6.1% in A- ball was in all of 33 PAs.) A linear increase in walk rates of about 2% per level (starting at 9.3%) is not much better than the one walk-rate model: about one player in 13 or 14 should generate such a trend over 4 partitions just by chance alone.

                What is curious is that his K rate shows no trend at all: it actually went down when his BB rate went up in AAA. That’s a little surprising because often increases in BB rates are partially explained by increases in K rates.

                Still, we are looking at a guy with a near 27% K-rate in miLB to go with his 12% BB rate and a 5+% HR rate. The whole team can break out the sunflower seeds when he bats, because a true outcome is going to be really probable!

      • CubFan Paul

        “perhaps he is that one of a kind player that comes along once in a million.”

        Bingo. Elite, blue chip talent comes in many forms (Almora, Bryant, & the linebacker Soler).

        • blublud

          Elite, blue chip talent comes in many forms (Edwards, Bryant, & the linebacker Soler).

          FTFY

          • C. Steadman

            Elite, blue chip talent comes in many forms (Baez, Bryant)

            FTFY

          • CubFan Paul

            “(Edwards, Bryant, & the linebacker Soler).”

            I didn’t ask for your help.

            FTFY

  • Addison Clark

    The Jordan stuff reminds me of the old joke: Jordan could REALLY score, and he was pretty good at basketball too.

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