On the day that we swooned over Kris Bryant’s dominance at AA, it’s worth pointing that Javier Baez – roundly considered the better prospect among pundits – is struggling as much at AAA as Bryant is succeeding at AA. It’s understandable that it’s come up a bit today.
To date, Baez is hitting just .151/.248/.280 at Iowa, and is sporting an unnervingly high 36.2% strikeout rate. Let me offer a few statistical salves, if you’re desperate for them: Baez’s .212 BABIP is way too low for the way he hits the ball, and is absolutely going to positively regress; Baez’s .129 ISO is way too low for how much natural power he has when he does hit the ball, so that’ll probably increase substantially, too; and Baez’s 9.5% walk rate is a career best.
Here are some other things to calm your nerves a bit in this second week of May:
Not at all. Still a stud. @pickcubs: how worried should #Cubs fans be about Baez's very slow start at Iowa?
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) May 12, 2014
(Ok, so that last one isn’t so much a nerve-calmer, but it was required for context.)
And then there’s this:
Javier Baez is the youngest player in MiLB Triple-A Baseball.
— John (@UrbyJT) May 12, 2014
I checked John’s work on that one, and he’s right. Baez turned 21 in December, which, for context, means that he wouldn’t be age inappropriate even if he were as low as High-A. Hell – Baez is a full year younger than Bryant. Double hell – Baez would be one of the youngest players at AA.
Some adjustments for Baez were always going to be required, and he’s had only 25 games so far in which to make them, playing at a level in which he’s the youngest player in either AAA league. Just 25 games.
No one is happy about Baez’s start to the year, and I’m sure that list includes Baez. But, given his style, these kinds of struggles were almost certain to happen at some point against more mature pitching. In the long run, it might be a good thing that he’s going through this at AAA (especially at AAA, and not in the majors). If guys like Callis and Parks aren’t worried at this point, it’s probably fair to say that neither should we be.
An absurd hot streak would not be surprising, and could start at any moment.