Cubs prospects: As seen on TV

Cubs prospects: As seen on TV

I can finally say I’ve seen the Cubs future, and it is good.

It almost seems as if we have been hearing about Javy Baez and Jorge Soler for years now. The reality is they are only in their first big league camp. A couple months ago we saw the future Cubs jokingly decked out in their Hall Of Fame busts.

Make no joke about it: most Cubs fans see it turning out this way. Expectations are always running high for Cubs prospects, as fans cling to hope. This group tantalizingly seems to have a little bit more credibility to go with it.

Today I got to catch my first glimpse of Baez and Soler on my TV.  I had of course seen footage and such, but there they were, the real things in HD no less.

They have been built up enough around Cub-land that I had to remind myself I was watching 20ish prospects and not legends from the future.

Their talent is unmistakable to even the untrained eye. Baez stood out more today for his accomplishments (2 HR), but Soler is a toolish sight to be seen himself.

I couldn’t help but have names like Vlad Guerrero, Andre Dawson, and Darryl Strawberry rushing through my mind.

Baez has that lightening-quick bat that many already have compared to Gary Sheffield, a comparison even Theo Epstein remarked on today during his visit to the broadcast booth. Epstein points out that Baez has a ways to go in the batting eye department when it comes to Sheffield, however.

I know it’s a tiny sample size, but it will also be very hard to convince me he isn’t a better shortstop than Starlin Castro.

It’s good timing too because one of the thoroughbreds came up lame this week, as Albert Almora suffered a hand injury that cut his spring short.

Today I will take away that glimpse to get me through the rough periods this season. Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t at all random this game was chosen to be televised in a split squad situation.

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Tags: Javier Baez, Jorge Soler


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    Agree, Tom. It's hard not to retire these guys numbers already when seeing the potential talent through your own eyes. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that they have a long way to go. I do think Baez has silented the "he could flame out at AA" talk though.....He looks like he'll be a legit big-leaguer someday.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yeah I'd have to say he was all that these last two days.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I was very impressed by him today, but let's remember that Joe Mather looked like an All Star last spring. Spring training is a different beast. Really, we only have more proof that the power is for real.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Oh, nothing has changed on that front. He absolutely could flame out at AA. I don't expect it to happen, but it's still well within the possibility.

    As much fun as these two days have been, it hasn't changed anything we knew about Javier Baez. We knew he has excellent bat control and amazing power. An environment where pitchers are still working on their command, don't care who they are pitching to and have trouble snapping breaking balls is pretty much his dream world.

    The test this year for him won't come in the Cactus League. It'll come in the real season, when all of a sudden the pitcher has a scouting report in front of him that says "you have no reason to throw this kid anything good, he'll chase, and he's got holes in his swing here and here" and tries to exploit that.

    If he can adjust to that and start to take bad pitches, forcing the pitcher to throw him good pitches, then I see a Gary Sheffield-like future.. If not, then a middling career in MLB might be his ceiling.

    I'd just as soon start him at Daytona. AA pitchers are a big step-up in stuff, and I don't want him to feel (consciously or subconsciously) that he has to worry about getting behind in the count facing the best breaking balls he's seen so far. I want him to feel like these pitchers have absolutely nothing on him, so he can wait till he has two strikes trying to find a pitch he can hit 470 feet.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    Completely agree. Good point, Kyle.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    No question in its only ST but you would have to be blind not to see this kid has it at the plate.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    I'm only concerned with patience etc, but he's got a lot of ABs coming to figure it out.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    I do agree AA will still be a test and he has a lot to work on, particularly his pitch selection. I don't think he has a problem with breaking balls. In fact, his game winner yesterday was on a slider and he had no problems going the other way in the minors on breaking balls.

    That said, I do think pitchers can potentially exploit him by getting him to chase breaking balls off the plate, but that goes back to being more selective.

  • It's not right that all those years they were free on TV we had
    not much to look at. With the right pick in the draft and a
    great pickup in the international talent pool we should be
    set for many years.

  • Thank you for this, Tom. And where have you been? I love John's sober, wonky, über-analysis, but this is the red meat I need! I can hardy contain my excitement.

    I know Baez likely needs a year and a half in the minors, but I'm hoping he goes straight to AA and lights it up and kicks the door down to the bigs this summer. What he did -- 3 homers on 3 pitches -- is the stuff is legend! The great ones are great at 20, 21. And, baby, Baez sure looked lie a rare great one today!!

    Let's Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Agree, AA for Baez. Why not? He's that good

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Thanks Nondorf, I will be more active now that season is coming and I've been doing some other sports too.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    What's funny is John says same thing about our styles.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I was thinking the same thing. I think the styles complement each other well.

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    I only saw his second shot today, but shoot, I'm in love with Javier Baez!

    Hopefully he moves quickly... I don't see him needing a full season at AAA

  • What does everyone think about how he looked at short?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think he's a good SS. Hard to see his strengths because you don't always see those instincts on a day to day basis. He's quick-twitched and has this explosiveness about him even though he has average speed at best.

    Castro, on the other hand, is more fluid. Makes it look a lot easier. His actions look more like a natural SS to me.

    I want to see Baez in the middle infield where he can take advantage of those instincts, be more involved in the game. While I think he can play SS in the big leagues, I think eventually he'll play 2B and complement Castro very well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm a big fan of Barney and his D and I hope he really surprises with a big step up on offense, but Baez would likely be an immediate upgrade offensively without another AB in he minors. I know it's wishful thinking and unrealistic. I know he needs more seasoning. But I am really looking forward to Castro and Baez up the middle for a decade with both as perennial all stars. .

    Jordan-Pippen. Toews-Kane. Castro-Baez! Yes,sir!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I like it... for next year or 2015 :) That would be our big duo!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I've heard Baez maybe the better SS but I do like Castro there too. Baez at 2b would be really something offensively speaking.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think Baez can stick at SS, not a great one or a GG, but I think he can stick there... Although, we will have to wait and see by the time he's ready for the bigs how much he keeps growing and if the range is still there.

    That said, I prefer Castro, maybe a few months ago I would consider Baez over Castro, but after watching Castro a couple of times this spring, it seems like he has really improved on his defense, he's always been fluid, but his actions look even more fluid now, he looks like he knows what he's doing out there and despite the fact that he grew a little bit in the offseason, the range is still there.

  • Now I'm eagerly looking forward to ST next year, when Almora, Vogelbach and Candelario get their first Major League camp.

  • I know that he has some seasoning left and the Cubs should be patient with his development, to do it right,!!! I am on the Baez Bandwagon!

    That 2nd homerun today...WOW...just jaw-dropping swing and he crushed it. A thing of baseball beauty.

  • I am beginning to worry that the last two days are going to kill Baez. Expectations are now through the roof and people are going to place huge and somewhat unrealistic goals for him.

    Folks, he is starting at Daytona where last year he batted under .200. Let him get acclamated there and if deserving, be promoted to AA to finish up the season. Maybe he plays in the Arizaon League in the Fall and lets take another look at him in ST next year.

    It is going to be fun to watch, but lets slow things down just a tad please.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I don't think the hype could be too much more for these two let alone any Cubs top prospect.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Finally a voice of reasoning, take it slow and let him develop and mature. MLB graveyard is full of talented kids who burned out quickly after being moved too fast, take it easy and enjoy the ride.

  • Regarding draft prospects: Nice story on power lefty Manaea, a look at SEC studs, and a side note on the Gophers' Windle here:

  • McCleod & Callis (and myself) are both on record in saying that Baez is more advanced defensively at SS than Castro was at this age. So you have some pretty solid company supporting that thought Tom. Theo is on record as saying that Castro will not move, Baez will. Still real early. The Cubs have everything to gain by leaving Baez at SS for as long as possible. Somebody may come along and make us an offer we can't refuse for one of our All Star caliber Shortstops. If not, one of them moves to another position. Either way, we win... unless we have to pitch to Javy.

    I've been on the same field as this kid. Now everyone knows what I meant when I said he just "stands out". Like a man among boys. I didn't expect him to stand out so prominently in ST. I know it's just ST, but still... it aint supposed to be this easy kid.....

    One thing's for certain, the Cubs future is very, very bright....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks Hoosier, good stuff.

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