The AFL Could Give Us a Look at Possible Position Switches and Other Bullets

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The AFL Could Give Us a Look at Possible Position Switches and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

javier baez aflI’ve going to be in and out a little bit this morning, heading to two doctor’s appointments (one for me and one for The Little Girl).

  • The Arizona Fall League could be used, in part, as a way for the Cubs to see a couple of their top prospects in a variety of defensive roles. Javier Baez has exploded this year, and now appears on the doorstep of the big leagues (by which I mean only that he could arrive at some point in 2014). Kris Bryant is an advanced college player who is tearing up the minors at the kind of pace you’d hope/expect from a top positional pick in a draft. With each player, there are positional issues: is Baez going to stay at shortstop and move Starlin Castro off of the position? Or will he have to learn a new position soon? Can Bryant stick at third base long-term, or will he have to learn the outfield quickly?
  • It sounds like the Cubs are preparing for these possibilities by acknowledging that we might see Baez play some different positions in the AFL (another top shortstop prospect, Addison Russell, is on the same team), and might see Bryant in the outfield. “I’m sure Javy will get some time [at shortstop], but if he moves around the diamond a bit, I think that’s a great thing,” general manager Jed Hoyer told the media, including Patrick Mooney, yesterday. “You watch the Cardinals and I think their versatility really helps them. They can move guys all over the field. The more versatility our guys have, the better. I think you will see some guys move around the diamond. That doesn’t mean we’re thinking about moving him off the primary position. It just means that they can help us more up here. [They can] really help the major-league club more in the future if they can move around.” Hoyer similarly acknowledged that Bryant would be “exposed” to the outfield a bit in the AFL.
  • All in all, we’ll have to see how it plays out, but our ability to draw conclusions will be limited (unless, for example, Bryant plays right field in every single game, or Baez plays third or second base in every single game). Versatility really is a good thing, though I’m fairly certain that the Cubs envision each of Baez and Bryant as full-time starters – whatever their position might be by 2014/2015.
  • Speaking of the AFL, Patrick Mooney has additional thoughts from Hoyer on seeing pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino back on the mound. As expected, the real focus is just getting him out there in a competitive environment again after missing two full seasons. Whether he can still be a starter or is now a reliever-only is an ancillary question that isn’t worth worrying about until later.
  • Jesse Rogers on how Jake Arrieta throws a lot of strikes, but still manages to walk a lot of batters.
  • Tony Andracki on Donnie Murphy’s success with the Cubs, and prospects for the future.
  • It could be nothing more than a professional courtesy, but Mark Gonzales reports that Dodgers President Stan Kasten told him that Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts and Business President Crane Kenney toured some of the Dodgers’ stadium renovations this week. It’s possible that they were getting a sense on some specifics of construction.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.