Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

When you say “Pacific Coast League,” many baseball fans immediately think of huge offensive numbers and inflated performances that must be regarded with a suspicious eye. While it is true that some of the ballparks and geographic locations in the PCL make for easy offense, the Iowa Cubs, for one example, play in a very neutral park. Thus, you’d expect to see the offensive bump only when the Cubs head out on the road and go out west to somewhere like Albuquerque.

Oh, hey, that’s where the I-Cubs were playing last night. Enter Javy Baez with an absolute bomb:

That was Baez’s second homer of the night, and the swing looked so different from the guy who was flailing away with all of his limbs going in different directions last year. It came with two strikes, you should note, so it’s all the more impressive to see him quieting everything down.

Baez had two other hits in the game, and raised his season line to .325/.397/.550, with a strikeout rate right around 25%. His .947 OPS is good for 6th in the PCL, and every single guy ahead of him plays out west.

And you probably didn’t realize that, at 22, Baez is still the 12th youngest player in the PCL.

We talked about Baez coming back to the big league team soon yesterday, and, with Jorge Soler potentially dealing with an injury, you could see some dominoes falling that have Kris Bryant moving to the outfield, one of Baez, Starlin Castro, or Addison Russell moving to third base, and the other two staying at shortstop and second.

I’m not sure that’s actually what the Cubs will do, mind you, since none of those three have experience at third yet (Christian Villanueva is Iowa’s third baseman, is on the 40-man roster, and is hitting very well; and there’s also Arismendy Alcantara with experience there). But it’s conceivable.

Because also, there’s this:

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