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Top Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez began his run at AAA Iowa on Thursday, and he went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. On Friday, it was more of the same, with an 0-4 and two strikeouts.

On Saturday, at least something changed: Baez was ejected. After striking out for the second time in as many at bats, Baez took umbrage at a check swing call, flip his arm in the air, and got the boot. You can read more about the situation from Tommy Birch at the Des Moines Register, including a subsequent dugout kerfuffle with catcher Eli Whiteside (it sounds like a lot of the veterans at AAA are taking Baez under their wing to help instruct him – don’t like to see the hostility, but love to see the outcome). After his ejection, Baez went straight to the batting cages.

On Sunday, Baez was benched to start the game, and here’s what I tweeted:

Baez ended up pinch hitting in the 7th. Is there any doubt where this is going? BN’er Joseph was there to capture the moment, in case you do have any doubt:

I sure do love hearing the crowd react to a Baez bomb. You can almost hear the dude in the distance saying, “Ahhhh! My windshield!”

Baez wound up getting another at bat, and, according to those who saw it, he actually just missed a follow-up grand slam by about 10 feet. Not that Baez needs more to add to his legend, but, hey, that would have been swell.

Does this mean Baez is back on track, and he’ll start embarrassing the rest of the PCL now? No, not anymore than a few bad games to start the year meant he was ever “off track” in the first place. This is all a process, and there will be adjustments, and adjustments to adjustments. Just enjoy the ride, man.

  • ssckelley

    Great, Baez is pissed off at baseballs again. Good way to take out his frustrations I’d say.

  • Sandberg

    Waiting apprehensively for the adjustment to occur, but still enjoying these homers. :)

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

    BAEZ IS A BUM! HE IS GOING TO FLAIL MISERABLY IN THE BIGS!!!!!!

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    I like the fire he showed, would prefer the altercation to be in the locker room or at least the tunnel, but it shows the passion he plays with. What is even better is that he immediately went to the cages after. You can tell this kid doesn’t just want to be good, he wants to be great.

    • Sandberg

      Agreed. The necessary work ethic seems to be there.

    • Funn Dave

      Idk, I’d almost be more uncomfortable with him blowing off steam behind closed doors.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Eh there are spats like these between teammates constantly, but when it happens in the public view, I have a little more of a problem with it. In the end, it’s just two guys who hate to lose, and they got their ass kicked the first two games of that series

      • ssckelley

        especially with a bat in his hands.

    • Edwin

      I think fans/media tolerate that kind of thing for now, but if he’s up in the majors and is just a very good player as opposed to a great one, and if the team still isn’t winning, then I think it becomes a distraction, and it becomes awfully tough to change that narrative.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Javier’s one big batting issue (pitch recognition) is not something that can be addressed in the batting cages. Unfortunately where work ethic is concerned, nobody yet knows where to go work on pitch recognition.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Vision training can be very helpful. I know the Cubs have used it in the past, not sure if they still do

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Some sort of vision training probably will be key. We don’t have good evidence that any one of them works, though, simply because so few guys show evidence of improved pitch recognition: so few that it doesn’t deviate from chance increases in performance.

          THe first team that actually works out how to do this is going to make a mint, though: it would be the HMS Dreadnought of coaching techniques. Given that Jed & Theo are aware of the problem and given that they seem to be actively investing in developing techniques to help guys actually work on this, it’s not ridiculous that it could be the Cubs.

          (They should call it the Dunstonomatic….)

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Ya it’s very hard to quantify something like that. The hitting academy I went to growing up was actually the one that used to work with the Cubs and I know it definitely helped for me. However the difference in turning my awful pitch recognition to below average in high school cannot even begin to be compared to pitch recognition of professionals haha

  • abe

    The way he swung looks as if he was just going to loop the ball for a signal (the like the average hitter would).

    • ssckelley

      right, except Baez simply loops it over the wall.

  • Ryno10

    I was at the game, about 20-30 feet to the left of the guy who took the video beside the I-Cubs dugout. I took a video of it too. The most encouraging thing for me (other than the HR and near granny of course) was that both at bats, he started down 0-2. He fought back to a full count, taking some close pitches.

    The HR got out in a hurry. The second at bat was indeed about 10 feet short of the wall, to dead center. I thought it was out. All in all, he seemed to be seeing the ball well yesterday. He seems primed to go on a tear.

  • miggy80

    I was at the game Baez got tossed and the whole situation was kind of unorthodox. Not trying to make excuses Baez but here’s how it went down.

    Baez had barely lifted the bat off his shoulder. The catcher nor the umpire appealed to first right away. As Baez stepped out of the box from the dugout the coach was telling the catcher to appeal. He asked for the appeal and the 1st base up emphatically rang Baez up as he was adjusting his batting gloves. That’s when he threw his hands up in the air. I thought “Baez you better keep your mouth shut”. Baez then spun around headed toward the dugout when the home plate ump said something to him. Baez responded over his shoulder and was promptly tossed. It looked like Baez wanted to continue his argument but Marty Pevey was on his way out. I could not see into the Cubs dugout as I was sitting behing home plate so I did not see any confrontation nor did I hear anyone at the park talking about it. Pevey went back to the dugout, after a brief discussion with home plate ump, and play was about to resume when they had to wait for Baez then to walk to the left field corner where the players clubhouse is located.

    • Jon

      That is where I think the manager needs to come out of the dugout and get tossed too. Not only stand up for his player but deflect the attention.

      I was never really a Pinella fan, but I’ll never forget the day after the Zambrano/Barrett fight he got tossed from the game and made a complete lunatic of himself. I’m pretty sure that was on purpose as it deflected some attention.

      • miggy80

        Marty Pevey, I think, is one of the best assets the Cubs have in their organization. Pevey did say in the register that Baez should have been tossed, but he was pretty heated with the home plate ump when he came out. I can only imagine that the discussion was how Baez was tossed, because if he had a problem with the call he would of argued with the 1st base ump.

  • Lou Brown

    I like that bit about going right to the cages. Don’t pout, just get to work. Focus your anger young Baez..

  • CubsFaninMS

    Maybe if Baez turns his cap to the side he will see the ball better, make some new gang friends, and hit many many bombs.

  • miggy80

    Is anybody going to the I-Cubs game tonight?

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to go but the Fiancee is out of town so it will just be me and my mug.

  • BlameHendry

    The Des Moines Register articles talks about them trying to shorten/tame Baez’s swing. Not too thrilled to hear that…

    Yeah we’d all like the strikeouts to come down. But not if it means taking away his power. He’s not exactly ripped, so his power comes from mostly from his bat speed, and that’s not something they should be discouraging.

    • Funn Dave

      Yeah, I’m probably hypersensitive after what happened with Castro, and this notion scares the shit out of me.

    • miggy80

      “The Des Moines Register articles talks about them trying to shorten/tame Baez’s swing. Not too thrilled to hear that…”

      Not sure where you read about “them” “trying” to “shorten/tame” Baezs’ swing in that article. Baez himself said “I was trying to make contact and I couldn’t make contact because I was swinging too hard,”

    • Don Eaddy

      it feels like has had to “stop swinging so hard” at every level. i have no problem with this. im pretty sure we heard the same things last year. with baez it is different than castro. castro swung at everything and they wanted him to stop. it upset his rhythm and he slumped big time. with baez, it is more of a “stop trying to hit every pitch for a HR”. his bat isnt gonna slow down and his bat speed is natural. you cant just “swing slower”. i am perfectly fine with baez trying to make more contact. with a swing like his it will only lead to more power

  • NorthSideIrish

    For those of you with MiLB.tv subscriptions…they now have an app for watching on your phone or other devices.

    Andrew Cockrum ‏@Andrew_PCL 3m
    Very grateful to have MiLB First Pitch now on my Android. I highly recommend downloading it, very useful resource http://www.milb.com/milb/mobile/index.jsp?redirect=mobile

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