BA names Javier Baez the top prospect in the MWL

BA names Javier Baez the top prospect in the MWL
Baez's play at SS helped him jump to the top of the MWL prospect list

This should not come as a huge surprise, but Javier Baez was named the top prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America.  It was a prospect laden league where at least 7, and as many as 12, of the top prospects will make the top 100.

Though Javier Baez was the 9th pick in the 2010 draft, he ranked ahead of two players who were picked just ahead of him in SS Francisco Lindor and RHP Archie Bradley.  At the beginning of the year, most scouts felt that Lindor and Miguel Sano were the top prospects, but Baez projects to have the best all-around bat and surprised many with his ability at SS and his instincts on the bases.

One scout called Baez "as good a baseball player as I've ever seen" while another said his batting practice displays were the highlight of his summer.  All agreed he was the most exciting player in the league.

No other Peoria prospect made the top 20, though Jorge Soler would have ranked in the top 5 or 6 had he qualified.  Additionally, Michael Jensen, Starling Peralta, and Jose Rosario were all mentioned in the chat.  All are considered prospects though Jim Callis didn't think the Cubs would protect Peralta or Rosario in the Rule 5 because both are too raw as pitchers right now.

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    Awesome, other than the lack of walks, there isn't much to complain about in Baez's game.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Not much to complain about at all. I think sooner or later he also will learn that he doesn't have to swing so hard to hit the ball a long way, but agree the walks is the biggest thing.

  • What are the chances of the following happening

    Draft a good prospect in the Rule V draft (2 pick)
    Trade Garza before the season starts for a least 1 top prospect
    Select Appel in the June draft
    Pickup a least 1 good young player through waviers

    All this would put the Cubs farm system near the top

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Not a lot of good prospects anymore in the Rule 5. It depends on what you mean by "good". If it means Lendy Castillo, then I'd say there's a good chance. If "good" means a top 30 prospect from another team then I'd say it's close to zero.

    I'd say the odds of trading Garza are maybe 25% right now.

    50/50 on Appel.

    They'll probably pick up players from waivers, but we're talking about guys like Cardenas and Valbuena, nothing to go gaga about.

    The only things from this group that would improve the farm system will be the draft or a Garza trade. The other stuff won't make a dent.

  • I loved how one NL scout was quoted as comparing him to a young Gary Sheffield. "Pure unadulterated bat speed" he said. lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I saw him at Ext ST, the kid had the quickest hands I have ever seen and I saw Gary Sheffield when he was a young player. I grew up in Tampa, Fla and was training by the scout who signed him Ed Durkin so, I got a good look at him.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I've seen a lot of Baez in H.S. and I am friends with his H.S. coach. Best pure hitter and fastest hands I've ever seen... bar none.

    From what I know and have been told about him, his mindset and personality is that he wants to be the best. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he forces a position change for Castro. Then again, his physique when he finally stops growing may dictate where he plays.

    The Jax, FL baseball community is watching this kid with great interest. The talk right now amongst them is they expect him to be the best MLB player Jax has produced.... There's some ridiculous talent already included in that so, I think it's really saying something.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That's the guy he's been compared to the most often. That bat speed is unlike any other player's in the system right now, MLB'ers included.

  • That "as good a ballplayer as I've ever seen" quote makes me wonder if it will be Castro that moves to third and not him.

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    In reply to Carne Harris:

    As surprisingly good as Baez's defense may have been this season, I don't think there's any doubt Castro will always be the better defensive shortstop, so I don't think it makes much sense to move him to third. What's intriguing to me is the possibility that Baez could handle second.

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    In reply to João Lucas:

    This is how I feel. I think Baez would give our team the most overall value if he could be above-average at second base with the possibility of moving to third if Candelario, Villanueva, or Vitters don't pan out or a guy like Amaya or Devoss separates himself from the rest at 2b. Baez instantly becomes the top 2b in the NL in my opinion.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I sometimes wonder if Baez has the kind of mental aptitude and instincts that might be better at SS. That said, it won't be his mind that decides it, it'll be his body. He's already bigger than Castro was at the same age and we have seen how much Castro has grown. SInce Baez isn't especially fast, he probably can't afford to get much bigger and retain the range needed for the position. It's a trade off. If he gets bigger, he could be a monster offensively. If he doesn't, he'll still be a very good offensive player with a chance to stick at SS.

  • I suspect that Castro would move to second base rather than third if the Cubs decide to keep Baez at shortstop.

  • John,
    This makes us look smarter considering what we talked about last night and that couldnt hurt, right? haha

  • In a few years we could have another "Latin connection" Remember
    which 2 players formed the 1st "Latin connection"

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Trillo & DeJesus

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    This may not be the popular assessment here but my guess is they sign a guy like Jeff Keppinger, who can play all over the infield, to platoon with Valbuena and around May-June Josh Vitters will be ready to hold down this spot until we see Baez in 1 1/2- 2 years.

    I'm expecting substantial improvement from 23 year old Vitters and Brett Jackson as well. Both should be in our starting lineup everyday from mid May on. Both got a taste and will be hungry.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Going to depend on how they do in winter ball. But what you've proposed is only 6 weeks into the season next year. Not nearly long enough IMO. They both need substantial work. they're talking about completely over-hauling jackson's swing mechanics now....

  • We need to protect Peralta, in my opinion.

  • Not to change the subject but...I was just reading how the Cubs want to add another 56 seats to each game and I've got to say something.....I'd like to see the Cubs rip out the guts from that manually operated scoreboard and put in a jumbotron. They'd get a lot more revenue, and they'd still be able to put up all the scores from the other games on it. We'd be a lot better off than adding a crummy 56 seats per game. If it isn't allowed because of some landmark status or something - tough. Do it anyways - don't ask permission, just like Ritchie Daley did when he got rid of Meigs Field. The club would make a lot more money, besides you can make it still look like the monstrosity that's there right now.

    Rant's over. Sorry.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think the Ivy, the Scoreboard, and the Rooftops need to stay to eternity. I'm completely okay with an overhaul of everything else.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    One thing that needs to be changes is something that normally doesn't get addressed - the dugouts. When you in those dugouts it is very hard to see what's going on in the game. You've got some of the worst seats in the house. It must be hard to stay focused on the game while you're not on the field. Look at most other ball parks and you see the players are actively watching the game and cheering on their teammates. I'm guessing that this is why you see players who sometimes appear disengaged during the game - they are only watching half of it.

    Improving these dugouts will mean the elimination of some of the most desirable seats in the park.

    And I know that the old hand operated scoreboard is cool, but so were old phones from the 20's but they are both impractical as hell. Leave the shell and replace it with electronics.

  • considering that the Cubs drew more tonite in a battle of the two worst teams in baseball than the Sox in a penant race did on a beautiful Sunday afternoon two days ago, I think any changes to Wrigley will be done very slowly.

  • I think Wrigley is perhaps the biggest issue that the Ricketts family will face as owners of the Cubs. You have to face the facts. It is a nearly 100 year-old facility that doesn't have the amenities offered by other clubs. And if you think that doesn't affect the kind of players that can be drawn to the team, you're wrong.

    On the other hand, you've got a national treasure. The Cubs shouldn't be drawing 30,000+ per game with the team they've got. It's a destination for people on vacation, or for people like me who grew up watching the Cubs from hundreds of miles away on WGN.

    Ownership is going to be faced with at "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation in the very near future. You either go all in and renovate the place to be a baseball palace of years gone by, or you go all in and build a new stadium from scratch. Both will cost about the same, because there is too much work to be done with the old structure to leave it untouched. People will complain either way, and whatever decision is made will make ownership extremely unpopular. With a new stadium, the Cubs can reap profits for a few years, but when the team is losing 100 games, fans are not going to show up in droves for that ballpark. With the old stadium, ownership is limited in what they can do because the landmark status and neighborhood tend to get in the way. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    When it all comes down to it, though it pains me to say it, the Cubs have never won at Wrigley. When Evers was Tinkering with Chance, the Cubs were at the West Side Grounds. Wrigley wasn't even built for the Cubs. I am a huge fan of history (I teach it), and Wrigley certainly has history. I'm just not sure that all history is worth preserving. HoosierDaddy probably has it right. If you're going to piss off half of the people either way, then you probably have to compromise and meet in the middle by preserving the old scoreboard, bleachers, and ivy.

  • That's awesome, more signs that the Cubs farm system is getting respect. I expect Baez to be a top 5 overall MLB prospect by the early part of next year .

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