The speculation about when and if Javier Baez would be promoted is over. He's going to Daytona.
There's no question that Baez had little trouble with Midwest League pitching. He has the quick hands and the bat speed to adjust to anything those pitchers could throw out there. And lord help them if they made a mistake in the zone, as they did twice in two days when I attended games in Kane County (see picture).
As we've mentioned many times, you don't have to be a scout to know who the best player on the field is when you would watch a Peoria Chiefs game. I didn't see him play against other top prospects Miguel Sano and Francisco Lindor, but one scout told me that he was a better hitter than Sano and that he had surpassed Lindor, in his opinion. Those three players were the best in the Midwest League this season.
Baez ends the year with these incredible statistics in 235 PAs: (see stats glossary for definition on advanced stats)
SBs: 20 in 23 attempts
Baez now takes on the challenge of the Florida State League It's a well-documented pitcher's league with big ballparks, though Baez can hit it out of any part of any baseball park. One has to also wonder what this means for breakout prospect Arismendy Alcantara. He's been on the DL with an unspecified leg injury and this either means he is out for the rest of the season or the Cubs have more promotions coming. It's also possible the Cubs will simply rotate all the players, but with potentially 4 top 20 prospects in that Daytona infield alone (Baez, Alcantara, Christian Villanueva, and Roni Torreyes), it seems that it would be difficult to find enough playing time for all of them. They all need to play regularly and they should all get a lot of reps in the field (not DH).
But the Cubs will have to worry about that later. Right now they need to make sure that their top prospect has every chance to progress and develop against advanced competition.
My only regret? I won't be able to see Javier Baez play live this season. But at this pace, it won't be long before we'll all get the chance to see the 19 year old budding star live and in person.
Right here in Chicago.