Although he’s currently missing time after being hit by a pitch on the wrist (though it’s reportedly just a day-to-day kind of thing, not necessarily serious, and he pinch hit yesterday), and although he cooled a bit after his crazy hot stretch, Javier Baez still got a little love recently.
ESPN’s Keith Law updated his pre-season top prospects list (up to number 25), and despite the struggles, Baez remains a top ten overall prospect to Law. Slipping from 7th to 9th in the rankings, Law cautions that Baez will have to work on his two-strike approach before he’s ready for the big leagues. That’s something of a known issue for Baez, but the fact that his ugly start hasn’t scared off Law is a good sign for what Law is hearing.
Unsurprisingly, Baez is joined in the top ten – one spot ahead, at number eight – by Kris Bryant, who shot up from number 15 in Law’s preseason ranking. Here’s how Law describes Bryant:
Aside from a high strikeout rate (more than 25 percent of his plate appearances), Bryant’s season so far is unimpeachable, as he’s walking, hitting for average, hitting for huge power and improving the second time around the league. We’ll have to see what happens to that contact rate when he gets to Triple-A, though.
We might not have to wait too long, as it seems likely that Bryant will be promoted to AAA Iowa at some point this month. He’s already locked down just about every recent award with his crazy performance in May (and the last 10 days, especially).
Interestingly, Bryant and Baez are bookended by a couple notable pitching prospects: the Rockies’ Jonathan Gray at 7, and the Orioles’ Hunter Harvey at 10. Each is a name that has popped up in Jeff Samardzija trade rumors. The ranking is something of a surprise with respect to Harvey, who’ll probably be a top 50 type to most of the other services.