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javier baez featureShark Week starts today!

  • After his rash of strikeouts on Friday, all swinging, Javier Baez took six straight pitches in his first at bat yesterday, striking out looking. Meaningful? Probably not. A mental overreaction by Baez? Not necessarily. He struck out a couple more times yesterday, but also worked a long at bat and produced a double. You’re going to get tired of hearing it, but, so far, I find Baez’s strikeout issues entirely unremarkable. We knew he was going to face an adjustment process as he competes against best pitching he’s ever seen (and he’s the youngest player in the NL, a guy who was already prone to swing and miss). This adjustment process was among the primary reasons he was called up last week, and not next April. The hope is that Baez will have almost two months to see how pitchers attack him, to focus on the improvements he needs to make, and then will have an entire offseason and Spring Training to work on those things without impact any big league games. Then, maybe, come 2015, he’s ready to really contribute to an upstart Cubs team.
  • Baez, so far, has the right attitude about the strikeouts (as he told ESPN): “I’m not going to change my approach because I strike out a lot. I just have to be patient and get a good pitch to hit.” Baez can always continue to improve at the margins, but he’s not a guy whose approach you would want to completely change for fear that you’d wreck the very things that make him so dangerous in the first place.
  • The funny thing on Baez’s SUPER small sample size numbers? Despite the 43.5% K rate, he’s got a .957 OPS, a .411 wOBA, a 163 wRC+, and a totally sustainable .300 BABIP. Are the .435(!!!) ISO or 42.9(!!!)% HR/FB ratio sustainable? Heh. Probably not.
  • Felix Doubront has been throwing side sessions since being acquired by the Cubs before the Trade Deadline (Cubs.com). He’s on the DL with a calf strain, and a rehab assignment probably comes next. How will the Cubs accommodate Doubront and Jacob Turner, who could join the team as soon as today? My best guess is that Turner pitches out of the bullpen the rest of the way (with an eye toward working him back in as a starter in Spring Training and early next year, if he shows he can succeed; and with the bullpen as a backup option), and Doubront moves into the rotation in September when, for example, Kyle Hendricks is shut down after getting up there in innings. It’s no lock that Hendricks will be shut down, but it’s plausible. If not Hendricks, then the odds remain good that at least one rotation spot will open up, one way or another, before the end of the year. And the Cubs can get three or four starts to look at Doubront.
  • Rays manager Joe Maddon was excited about his visit to Wrigley Field (CSN), but ripped Cubs fans in the process: “I’ve not been around the fans long enough, but I do see almost like a St. Louis thing where they’re really good baseball fans and they can appreciate good baseball either way.” AHHH! LIKE CARDINALS FANS?!? NOOOOOOO!!!
  • Did the Dodgers get their additional pitcher? Probably – they just picked up Kevin Correia from the Twins. Yesterday, we discussed the possibility of the Dodgers – or the Angels – getting a pitcher from the Cubs.
  • Evan Longoria on his career path vis a vis similarly-tracked slugger Kris Bryant.

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