Although Kris Bryant won’t arrive until next year, the Chicago Cubs are on the verge of featuring three players, under 23, each of whom has theoretical MVP-caliber upside. Will all of Bryant, Baez, and Soler achieve that upside? It’s extraordinarily unlikely. But the possibility – especially when paired with Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, and a stockpile of excellent prospects to follow thereafter – is so exciting it should be illegal.
When asked just how good the Bryant/Baez/Soler trio could be together in the big leagues, Soler said it best, per Cubs.com:
“It’ll probably be a little dangerous.”
Miscellaneous extra bits on the Cubs’ dangerous trio:
- Jorge Soler has played just six big league games so far, but, man, he’s made the most of it: .500/.542/1.091, .686 wOBA, 350 wRC+, 0.8 WAR. And not but two years ago, he was wrapping up his first partial pro season with the Peoria Chiefs. At their blog, the Chiefs have collected some Soler highlights from that year, and you can watch Soler hitting bombs as an even younger youngster.
- Although he had a similar – though lesser – fast start, Javier Baez has struggled through his last few weeks of baseball, thanks primarily to an enormous strikeout rate (40.8%) and an unsustainably low BABIP (.226). The latter will likely smooth itself out, but the former is something Baez will have to continue to work on. And, as we’ve said before, that’s the plan. “As tough as it can be to watch sometimes, this is exactly what Javy needs,” Epstein told Cubs.com. “He’s going to end up going into the offseason reflecting back on this and over time, it’ll sink in that despite what pitchers do to him, he controls the at-bat and he can’t get away from his strengths and he can do as much damage as anyone in the game when he gets a pitch he can drive and not try to do too much and uses the whole field.” Baez remains among the five youngest players in baseball right now, so this adjustment period should be doubly expected.
- Epstein discusses Soler and Bryant in that Cubs.com piece, as well.
- More on Baez, in an interesting read over at Grantland from Ben Lindbergh on the first 100 plate appearances. If you’ve been paying attention, it will not surprise you to learn that pitchers have been aggressively attacking Baez up in (and out of) the zone with fastballs, and down and out of the zone with breaking pitches. He is among the most aggressive swingers in baseball, and until that changes, pitchers have no reason to give him more to hit. (In the five days since Lindbergh’s piece was written, Baez has actually struck out far less than in the first 100 PAs – small sample? adjustment in process? We’ll see.)
- As for Kris Bryant, we’ll talk soon on the (not) rostering decision and what his future holds, but you’ve already seen the two big recent notes on him: he’s the minor league home run king for 2014. And he’s also the minor league player of the year to USA Today. If you want to take a peek at the closing moments of his 2014 season, I suggest checking out the work of photographer (and BN’er) Dylan Heuer, the guy who snapped the incredible Lo Viste shot that adorns this very post. It looks like Bryant is growing out his flow.
In conclusion …
“You understand they got a plan for us,
I bet you didn’t know that I was dangerous.
It must be fate, I found a place for us.
I bet you didn’t know someone could love you this much.”
– Big Data, ‘Dangerous’