[This will stand in as your Minor League Daily for today. If you want to see the other box scores in the Cubs’ org, you can see them here.]
The Iowa Cubs blew out the Fresno Grizzlies last night, thanks in large part to an eight-run fourth inning. That inning was capped off by this monster blast to center field by Javier Baez:
That was on the “harder” side of the Baez Swing Ferociousness scale, though it came in a 2-1 count, and it still wasn’t quite as over-the-top as his swings last year. Swinging hard at the right moments is not, in isolation, a bad thing.
As for the rest of the night, Baez, who was playing third base, was just on, man. He wound up going 4-4 with that homer, a double, and a couple singles. He also walked and stole a base. His line at AAA is up to .315/.383/.542, which, for the record, blows away his already-very-good .260/.323/.510 mark from last year. His strikeout rate is under 25%, too. Just sayin’.
With Tommy La Stella coming up to play second base after Jorge Soler went down with his oblique injury (Chris Coghlan will move out to right field), it seems apparent that the Cubs really do mean it when they say they want Baez to get in more time at AAA this year for his development. There’s not a ton of time left in the minor league season, though, and you will see Baez up with the big league team at some point before this season is through. He’s too valuable to the Cubs, even if only as a bench guy who can play quality defense at multiple positions and run the bases very well. The possible offense he brings – at least this year – is a bonus.
It’ll be good to see Baez up with the big team this year, but I get even more excited thinking about the possibility that he could break out in 2016 with the Cubs after having time to develop in 2015, albeit in a fractured, stop-and-start season.
More on Baez’s adjustments and development this year here at MiLB.com.