Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are giving Chicago Cubs fans another cookie.
It was reported early Monday afternoon that the team will call up noted prospect Javier Baez from Triple-A Iowa.
#Cubs say Javier Baez will join team in Colorado on Tuesday
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 4, 2014
Javy, the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year last season, is the latest Cubs prospect to get a major league promotion this year, following guys like Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks.
Baez got off to a horrid start with Iowa. He had very little patience at the plate, hitting just .172 in the month of April, and was obviously frustrated. In the early months he argued a lot of calls (mostly about the strike zone), and argued so much during an April 5th game that he was ejected in the third inning.
Thankfully, he got through his rough stretch. A big reason for that was his willingness to not hack at every pitch (plus the tutelage of player/coach Manny Ramirez). In the month of July, Baez owned a .300 batting average with ten home runs. MLB Pipelines outlined his offensive production throughout the season:
Baez slashes on 5/21: 178/252/341 on 6/18: 215/269/426 on 8/04: 260/323/510 SS: 252/317/469 15 HR, 518 AB 2B: 339/394/763, 7 HR, 59 AB @Cubs
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 4, 2014
Baez began his transition to second base last month, and the current sample size (though limited) suggests that the move is going well. He has been raking offensively since the switch, hitting .339 with seven homers in just 59 at bats. His defense has also been decent, owning a .976 fielding percentage with two errors in 85 chances. His combined error total this year (15) is a major improvement from his 2013 total (44). His improved defense is surely another factor in his promotion.
With Starlin Castro already manning the shortstop position, Baez will likely become the team’s second baseman. That would also mean that Alcantara could become an outfielder on a more permanent basis, unless Baez or Castro get some days off. Chris Valaika seems to be the most likely candidate to be sent down to Iowa to accommodate Baez’s promotion.
I like this move by the Cubs. Baez has a trend of struggling when he first gets to a new level, then mashes once he makes his adjustments. It is much better to have Baez struggle for a month or two this year, then for him to be in a massive slump next year (like Mike Olt did this year). Congratulations Javy, and welcome to the show.
For more Chicago Cubs news and notes, check out their team page.