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Cubs Minors Recap: AA pitchers continue to throw baseballs at Javier Baez's bat

Cubs Minors Recap: AA pitchers continue to throw baseballs at Javier Baez's bat
Javier Baez

And they've had remarkable aim too.

On with the recap...

Memphis 7 - Iowa 1

  • Another good start for Yoanner Negrin, who have up just one run in 5 innings.  He walked one and struck out 2.  He lowered his ERA to 4.35 on the season, but his peripherals even better with 29 walks (2.68/9IP) vs. 110 Ks (10.17/9IP) in 97.1 innings.  His FIP coming into the game was a much more respectable 2.70.
  • It's been a nightmare for Alberto Cabrera at AAA.  He gave up yet another HR -- this time it as a 3-run shot and Cabrera gave up 4 runs overall in just one inning of work.  He took the loss and fell to 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA.
  • As if Mike Olt isn't having enough troubles this season, he was benched today for not running out a groundball to the shortstop.

Tennessee 10 - Birmingham 8

  • It was an encouraging start for Matt Loosen, who threw strikes and walked just 2 batters in 5.2 innings while striking out 5.  He still gave up 3 runs, but the peripherals were better, the command was better, and as long he continues to throw strikes, Loosen should have some success at AA.  Today was a step in that direction.
  • Tony Zych has been red hot of late but with just so-so peripherals, so you knew it was going to catch up to him someday.  That day was today as Zych pitched just 2/3 of an inning and allowed 4 runs, though just 2 were earned due to a John Andreoli error.  Zych, however, earned the win, when the Smokies re-took the lead in the 9th.  Zych has a 2.73 ERA on the season.
  • Frank Batista pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up his 17th save.  He also has a 2.73 ERA on the season.
  • Matt Szcur doubled and scored 2 runs.
  • Arismendy Alcantara is back on the upswing after some struggles in the second half.  He filled up the stat sheet again with a double, single, 2 walks, his 28th stolen base, an RBI, and 2 runs scored.  He raised his overall line to .271/.347/.448 on the season.  If there's one good thing that has come out of his unusually long season is his increasing proficieny vs. LHP.  It's not a Ruthian by any means, but Alcantara has now surpassed the .700 OPS mark vs. LHPs for the year.  I've always felt he just needed more reps batting RH after never playing much more than half a season in his career due to injuries.
  • The Javier Baez path of destruction through the Southern League continued unabated today.  The slugging SS went 4 for 4 with 5 RBI, including 2 more HRs to give him 16 on the year.  It puts him in a tie for 5th in the league, 4 from the leader, despite playing in just 43 games.  For good measure, Baez also drove in the winning run with a sac fly in 9th that gave the Smokies the lead they would not relinquish.   It was impressive to see Baez, who came up with men at 1st and 3rd with nobody out, use situational hitting instead of trying to pad his day with a 3 run HR.  He just got the run home.  In fact, Baez had good ABs all day, working counts and laying off pitches off the plate.  Baez's numbers are phenomenal at this point.  He's hitting .307/.366/.659 (1.025 OPS) with 16 HRs in 176 ABs at AA.  Overall he's hitting .286 with 33 HRs, and 100 RBIs.  He also has 19 SBs and 33 doubles on the year.  This is a 20 year old kid playing at AA during during a playoff stretch run.  Incredible.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva was hitless until his last AB, when he hit a key 2-run double.  It was his league leading 39th two bagger of the season.
  • Great to see Brett Jackson contribute with 2 hits in 5 ABs.
  • C Rafael Lopez went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.  He also drove in a run and scored another.

Beloit 8 - Kane County 5

  • Tonight was the MWL debut of James Pugliese who went 5 innings, did not walk a batter and struck out 6.   He also induced 6 ground balls, two of which were turned into DPs.   Sounds like a great outing but Pugliese also gave up 10 hits and 5 runs.  It's hard to say without having seen the game whether this was a case of BABIP luck or Pugliese got hit hard, but chances are if Pugliese throws strikes and continues to induce ground balls like he did today, he'll get better results than he did today.
  • The Cougars got a brilliant performance from LHP Nathan Dorris, who went 4 innings pitched of one-hit scoreless baseball.  He walked just one and struck out 4.  Dorris lowered his ERA to 2.80 on the season.
  • Closer Michael Hamman is struggling down the stretch after dominating at Boise and then during his first few stints at Kane County.  Today he allowed 3 hits, including a 2 run HR and 3 runs overall to take the loss.  He fell to 2-3 with a 2.65 ERA overall.
  • Jeimer Candelario went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI.  The switch hitting 3B is hitting .252/.345/.387 on the year.
  • Marco Hernandez singled and doubled in 5 ABs.
  • Infielder Giuseppe Papaccio has been a nice additon to the Cougars.  He's played good defense and provided solid contact hitting with a nice approach.  He had two more hits, including a triple, and drove in 3.  He's hit .279/.336/.365 on the year.

Boise 5 - Salem-Keizer 2

  • Solid start for Jose Rosario, who went 5 innings and allowed 2 walks and 5 Ks.  He gave up 2 runs overall and moved to 2-0 witha  1.80 ERA since his demotion.
  • Jose Arias continues to look strong since his long stint on the DL.  He hurled 3.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 4.  The tall, big-bodied RHP has yet to allow a run or a walk in 8 innings.  That's a good sign because Arias has always had solid command to go with his low 90s FB curve, and developing change.
  • Carlos Penalver moved up to the 2nd spot after some hot-hitting recently and made the move pay off with a hit, run scored, and RBI today.
  • Yasiel Balaguert singled twice and drove in 2 runs.  The big 20 year old corner outfielder out of Cuba is hitting .283 with 7 HRs on the year.
  • Daniel Lockhart went 2 for 4 with a run scored and continues to hover around that .300 mark (.297).
  • C Lance Rhymel is known more as a game manger/catch and throw type catcher but he's been a solid bat for Boise this year.  The 23 year old backstop is hitting .263 after a 2 for 4 day that included a run scored and 2 RBI.

AZL D'Backs 4 - AZL Cubs 3

  • 13th round pick Trevor Graham started and went 2.1 innings, allowing one run, walking one and striking out 3.  He has a 2.11 ERA on the year.
  • 18 year old polished pitcher Carlos Rodriguez, a somewhat undersized lefty out of Venezuela piggybacked the start.  He's another guy, like Daury Torrez and Erick Leal, whose periphery numbers are better than his results.  He went 4.1 innings and walked just one and struck out 4, though he did give up 2 runs and 5 hits.  He has a 6.53 ERA but his FIP is a very good 2.64.    He has walked more than expected at 3.86 per 9 IP, but has also struck out 8.3 per 9 IP.  Despite his youth, I'd put his overall stuff behind the other two young pitchers mentioned earlier.
  • The offense didn't do too much, a triple by Rashard Crawford and a single by Jeffrey Baez scored one run.  Jesse Hodges doubled and scored twice, being driven in once each by Tyler Alamo (0-2, .100 on the season) and Mark Malave (1 for 3 with a walk and hitting .248 with a .357 OBP.

 

 

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  • I bounced this off of a few people on twitter earlier. I was wondering if you thought Christian Villanueva might be worth a look this September despite the 40man situation. I would almost prefer to give him a shot this September at the expense of a guy like Raley (insert other up and down type player on bubble). I think it would give him a chance to establish himself before the wake of talent behind him eats into his possible opportunities.
    Thanks for the article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I think he has an outside shot with Vitters hit and Olt struggling. I'd like to see it, though he will start at AAA next year regardless

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope Olt pulls it together soon, hoping when he gets adjusted with his vision, his hitting will return. Olt would be the perfect long term 3rd basemen, he's a great fielder who can/could hit with power

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    Whatever scout thought getting Mike Olt was a good idea will not be getting his Christmas bonus this year.

    And Baez is just all kinds of wrong. 20 year old kids do not do this to the southern league.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, I guess that trade will really be the Edwards, Grimm and PTBNL trade. I hope it is just a total off year and Olt will be back to his 2012 form next season but he is almost 25 and he better get it going quick

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Olt was likely frustrated and it's hard to blame him, but yeah, not looking great for him this year. He's going to have to find it in a hurry.

    Baez is just being silly right now. I don't know if you notice the change in him but he hits HRs and for the most part he puts his head down and jogs around the bases. Doesn't show anyone up. He's all business now -- and that's a scary thought.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's funny you mention that, because I was thinking exactly that after the three run shot.

    He's going to be in the majors in a year, and that should be a lot of fun to watch.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree with both you guys, and the best thing about it is that Baez clearly has some swagger right now: the good kind. Not the kind of swagger that makes you act like a jerk and show up pitchers, but just the glow of being supremely confident in your skills and knowing that you are excelling at something you have been training your whole life to do without getting a swolen head.

    Given the Big League mini psycho-drama that is the ups and downs of Castro and Rizzo's confidence, it is just awesome as a Cubs fan (who also just loves the game of baseball) to see a kid just enjoying the ride while still remaining hungry as heck. I don't know what is going to happen long term with his development, but man does this kid make for some FUN baseball

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Baez has always been a nice kid, now he's just growing up. He's letting his bat do much of the swagger. He walks up there now and carries himself like a big leaguer. He doesn't need to say anything. Pitchers know they're in a heap of trouble when he comes to bat -- especially with that improved approach. They can still get him to chase every so often, but they can't depend on it anymore. They're often falling behind the count and making it worse for themselves.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Amen

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Amen

  • In reply to shalin:

    My reply both times was to Mike's comment:
    "Whatever scout thought getting Mike Olt was a good idea will not be getting his Christmas bonus this year.

    And Baez is just all kinds of wrong. 20 year old kids do not do this to the southern league."

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ill take all kinds of wrong then. July, 2014 Javy Baez is a bog leaguer.

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again, these minor league wraps are the best in the business. Anybody can go to the box scores and list who did what, but these are summaries not only of what is going on that day, but snapshots of how players are doing over certain periods of time and even some analysis thrown in.

    Amazing work, John. I happy, but somewhat sheepish that I don't have to pay for it. :-)

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Haha! Thanks Greg. You can buy me a beer next time you're in the Chicago area :)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You bet I will. As you know, I'm a bit on the cynical side, but there's a reason I spend so much time on this site. Good knowledge from the readership, too.

    I need to give Tom his props as well, and even Felzz. I know even you couldn't do it alone. You three complement each other well.

    Thanks again for all the good reads. We are spoiled rotten. You all make following a struggling team, somehow, fun. :-)

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Exactly! Awesome website.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Thanks Kodak!

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Thanks again Greg. It's a great team and it's good to hear you think we complement each other well. We have our different personalities and different outlooks -- but we are all still similar enough where it works.

  • Honestly, what's the point in Baez doing a AAA stop at this stage? The kid is ridiculous. You let him finish out this season in Tennessee and in March, you put him in big league camp and give him the opportunity to play his way onto the roster. I realize the Cubs almost certainly will not do this until the post-Super Two date next season at the earliest. But still....wow is an insufficient superlative.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    He may well get that chance. I always say that elite talent doesn't always stick to a schedule. They tell you when they're ready.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, sir! And is there anything more Baez can do to tell us he's ready? He's screaming it from the top of his lungs.

    And looks like Bryant is warming up his pipes as well. I can't wait til those two get here.

    Again, I feel a kid in December staring at the wrapped gifts under the tree and just busting at the seams with anticipation. And from the shapes and sizes of those packages, I can't believe it, but it looks like mom and dad got me TWO Red Rider Bee-Bee Guns!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    He's still not a finished product. He strikes out a lot still .The good news is that he's cut it down to 21% this month. If he can sustain that pace over a larger number of ABs (perhaps some in AAA next year), then we'll see him sometime in 2014.

    There's no reason to bring him up now and the Cubs would like to get him experience in a pennant race/playoff atmosphere.

    He'll play winter ball and then be invited to spring training again and they'll go from there. They may

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the response, John. Of course, you're right -- as are the other level-headed Denizens here. And I know that. I'm usually just expressing the view of the overeager and excited fan who just can't wait for our top prospects to get here.

    And that, John, is ALL YOUR FAULT! Yes it is. I mean how can we remain objective when you do such a great job of reporting on the progress of these guys. How can I not clamor for them to get here ASAP when you and Tom and Felzz and all the great commentators here induce fans like me to check out Cubs Den first thing in the morning, last thing before bed and about 10 or 12 times a day in between. So gosh darn it, stop doing such a great job! : - )

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Baezs minor league numbers suggest a probable 30HR/20steal 900 plus OPS infielder. Ill live with 100 Ks if Baez puts up anything like hes doing in AA now.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I see your point, but I would rather him start the season in AAA next year( if he is coming up as soon as the super 2 cutoff). I think AAA pitching would likely be better than what he has been seeing in the SL and help him prepare for big league breaking balls

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Other than the Super 2 status, it's to let him get comfortable with more advanced pitchers. He's started to develop a pattern of being awful for a few weeks while learning and them destroying all comers. So he should get the chance to adjust to AAA pitchers -- who will approach him similarly to big league pitchers -- before the jump to the majors.

  • I don't know if you believe in karma, but Tim Wilken might after first reaching heavily for, I can't even remember his name now, hold on while I look it up... oh yeah, Hayden Simpson, he came right back the next year and, with a sly smile on his face like the cat that ate the canary, selected Javier Baez. I guess the two even each other out.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Its amazing what can be accomplish with money

  • In reply to mjvz:

    "Its amazing what can be accomplish with money"

    absolutely, so true

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Yes. You just wish they would have given him the freedom to select who he wanted every year. The man knows baseball.

  • If Theo was in charge when Baez was there, who do you think he would have drafted at that slot given his style and the type of players that he looks for?

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Wasn't George Springer there at that time? That would have been my guess.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    "If Theo was in charge when Baez was there, who do you think he would have drafted at that slot given his style and the type of players that he looks for?"

    NOPE

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    In reply to Buzz:

    Cory Spangenberg.

    Baez was a slightly better pick, it turns out.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I don't know but we know Jason McLeod and Hoyer picked right afterward with the Padres and they selected Cory Spangenberg. He's hitting .275/.322/.343 at AA. More of a speed player.

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    I still think Lot can turn it around.

    At this point his BABIP has to be around .120, which is like... Supernaturally low.

    Plus, its well known his troubles started with a concussion which sometimes only fully subside with time and rest.

    I honestly think this season can't end soon enough for him.

    Let him rest up this fall & winter and hopefully his (literal) mind gets right. If this vision thing can fully subside, he's still got great Third base tools. Defense, Power and OBP is a great combination.

    Villanueva has struggled to keep his BA above the .250s this year so I think Lot starting in triple-A and Villanueva in double-A again would be beneficial for everyone.

    As for Baez.....
    I just... I mean... I can't even... Ugh.

    What the hell, man.

    I still think, no matter what, 500 at-bats can do nothing but good.
    He's still got a bit of a L/R split.
    He can still improve his approach with a bit more patience, and will need to learn how not to get fooled by crafty pitching.

    Still.... Wow.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Ugh.

    Olt. Not Lot. OLT.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I thought you were getting biblical on us :)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Paul Goldschmiditt was putting up similairnumbers at the all-star break 2 yrs ago at AA, when the Snakes brought him to the big leagues. Hes at 31 Hrs and 100 rbis with 6 weeks left in the season. Its not hard to imagine Baez doing similar.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Goldschmidt was 24 when he was brought up.

    Baez is 20.

    That's not even kinda-sorta maybe close to being an accurate comparison.

    Moving him up that soon really has no benefit.
    And giving him 500 ab's in triple-A then promoting him would still put him in the bigs at 21. TWENTY ONE is still insanely young to make it to the show.
    Alcantara, Soler, and Bryant will both be 22 in the offseason and Olt is 24. P. Johnson will be 23 shortly after next season starts.
    Baez has already flown through the minors. It's silly to try to push that harder.

    Giving him (almost!) a year at the highest level of the minors is the best choice in every sense.

  • I keep coming back to whether the Cubs should trade for David Price this off season. The development of Baez and the addition of Bryant impacts this decision in that the Cubs could afford to put together a very attractive package for Price.

    It appears Baez is looking too good to trade and Bryant can't be traded until next summer, so that leaves Castro, Almora and Soler as headliners to any package. Even with Castro's down year, he still has far and away the most value of that group.

    One, should the Cubs give up on Starlin at age 23 in order to get a 29 year old ace?

    And two, how much do you think the Cubs would have to include to close the deal? Even though the Rays almost have to trade him due to financial concerns, the number of suitors for Price will give the Rays an excellent bargaining position.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    The Rays do have him under control for two more seasons after this, so the time to trade him might come after the 2014 season, but if Tampa Bay feels their staff is strong enough to succeed without him, they certainly would get more for him by trading him with two years of control left than just one.

    And, correction, Price will be 28 next season, not 29...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If the Rays would do Castro for Price, I'd drive Starlin to Tampa myself.

    However, I doubt the Rays would even consider a deal with the Cubs unless it involved at least one of Bryant/Baez. Almora's solid, but I'm not sure he's good enough to headline a trade like that. Soler is a great prospect, but he's more risky due to his contract. If they didn't bid on him, I don't see why they'd want to trade for him.

    Anyways, I just don't think it makes sense for the Cubs to make a trade like that until they've established a foundation at the major league level (meaning, more than just Rizzo/Castro).

    Once guys like Baez and Bryant get to the big leagues, and it looks like they're about to turn the corner, at that point maybe you try to make a deal with the surplus minor league talent after years of drafting, and developing strong.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    That's certainly the flipside. I go back and forth on this. I agree that it makes sense to hold onto the birds in the hand, but I disagree that making a major move now is somehow unwise. I think both are valid courses to consider. There's nothing wrong with moving up your timeline if you can do it without completely mortgaging your future.

    And, of course, the trade wouldn't be Castro for Price straight up. If you think that, then you're just creating a strawman argument against this course of action. Castro has a lot of value despite his down year. Starlin packaged with Pierce Johnson, C.J. Edwards, Soler/Vogelbach/Alcantara and one other high ceiling/high risk prospect or a high floor/low risk prospect like Grimm would be, in my mind, a very competitive offer.

    One thing, Bryant can't be traded until next summer so he's not an option if the Cubs were to acquire Price for 2014.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    C - Castillo
    1B - Rizzo
    2B - Barney/Infante?/Kelly Johnson?
    SS - Baez (mid-season addition, Castro traded in a deal for Price)
    3B - Valbuena/Vitters/Olt
    LF - Lake/Many others...
    CF - Choo
    RF - Schierholtz

    SP - Price, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta/Villanueva/Grimm, (Maybe sign Halladay and try to get him healthy)

    RP - Vizcaino?, Strop, Russell, Crain (FA), Parker, Rusin, Cabrera?, Lim? Mujica (FA)? Rivero?

    Bryant and possibly Alcantara (if he isn't included in the Price trade) would be in AAA.

    If the Cubs could actually pull this off and have Bryant, Almora, Soler/Alcantara left in the system, are you saying it wouldn't be worth it?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    It looks pretty good on paper, but right now Castro is probably too high a risk for TB itself. Unless Castro shows a big turnaround next season, I don't think TB would bite on that. And then if he does, do we want to trade that kind of value at that premium position? We already have a pretty solid SP staff and some real possibilities coming along.

    Perhaps, if we were absolutely certain Bryant was going to be our 3rd baseman, we could project Baez as Castro's replacement and then giving up Castro and Soler among others would be more palatable. Otherwise, I'm not sure, because if Bryant can't stick at 3rd, Baez would be my choice for third, and Bryant would then project for one of the corners, all of which means we need Castro at short. Now, don't get me wrong. We'd all love a staff that has an ace and you may very well be right and we'd be better off that way then the other. I'm just really conflicted on the whole thing and glad I wouldn't have to make that decision.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Oops, you're right about Bryant. I forgot about that for a second.

    As for the Castro thing, yeah I guess they might consider a package if you bundled a bunch of other guys with him, but who knows. A lot of that depends on what they think of Castro, and what they think of our system outside of Baez/Bryant.

    I

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I agree with you Jerry. I do not want to trade a boatload of talent to TB again when we are not in the "we need just one more player" mode. Let the prospects develop and let Castro get his head straight. If Castro returns to his old self maybe a one for one Price for Castro trade is fair. I like our trading being done by Theo/Jed/Jason team. I have confidence in them.

  • In reply to John57:

    Agreed. That's the best part about all this, there's probably no one I'd rather have making these decisions than the current front office. It's a nice feeling, haha.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Right now, Baez is an untouchable. Lets not forget, Price has been on the DL this year , only a year after the 1st time he surpassed 200 innings. Right now, Kershaw would be the only "ace" Id consider giving up any of the top 3 for.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Let's grow our own organically. You know that the Rays GM is awfully good and extracts blood when he makes a trade. Nothing to see here, just move right along. Did you examine that trade he made with KC last winter? Highway robbery!! And 24 year old Chris Archer is really coming into his own in the majors for the Rays this year. Ouch!!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Say we get Price for 2014...are we anywhere near playoffs? Or even .500? We still have multiple waiver signees in our lineup and we don't have much else ready for the bigs. Now you would have given a 23 year old with multiple good seasons and one bad one and two of our top prospects for a pitcher who will probably be .500 with great stats due to no support.

    Not sure the point of the rebuild if we are just going to trade prospects for a pitcher who will be 30 and not be anywhere near his prime when our other prospects get into their mid-20s.

    If we did do the trade, I would try and use Lake as a main cog -- I'd prefer to keep Almora and Soler.

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    Baez might be the hottest thing to burn through the South since Sherman during the War of Northern Aggression.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The only thing we need to fear is fear itself

  • I think the Cubs should just cool their hells for another year. Let Baez get most of his reps at AAA. Castro also can regroup. By midway the FO will more information to make decisions.

  • We all need to back off of Baez a little. I remember Bob Speake. The Cubs have ruined more prospects than you can count on an abacus, by expecting too much too soon. Castro's sleep walking is making all of you salivate over this 20 yr old kid, and you rebs need to try to accept the 21st century.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Yup, you're absolutely right, but Bob Speake did not have the credentials of a Baez nor Patterson. He was a one spring training and early season wonder pup. But then again, you're right, we just ruin em

  • In reply to shalin:

    "We just ruin 'em"? The Cubs didn't "ruin" every young player after Bob Speake (and I can throw in Danny Murphy, but that was under the Bonus Baby rules).
    To wit, prospects named Williams, Santo, Holtzman, Kessinger, and Hundley turned out kinda ok. Fergie Jenkins, Jim Hickman, Bill Hands, and Glenn Beckert were young prospects picked up from other teams who developed and found stardom here.
    Plus, those guys also had to endure the College of Coaches but succeeded anyways.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Interestingly our previous salivation was for a 20 year old kid hitting .300 in the majors (i.e. Castro). Big difference between AA and majors. Even though I believe Baez is going to be good, I don't think he will come up and dominate right away (possible, yes, but to expect this of a kid is too much).

    This is why I think 2014 and 2015 are right-offs and trading for Price or any other 30 year old right now doesn't make sense to me.

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    I remember of another early 20s prospect tearing it up in the majors, but he seems to have disappeared. I wonder why. Could it be all the hype and expectations us desperate fans have for contending makes succeeding beyond overwhelming for them? Idk, but I always felt that us Cubbie fans put imense pressure on the young studs we have that come to the majors and we kill their psyche at the first sign of trouble. We did it to Patterson and Pie before, we've done it to Vitters and Jackson recently and now maybe Rizzo and Castro. Let's hope I'm wrong but maybe it's not the development in the minors that destroys these prospects, but the pressure in the majors and playing for a team who hasn't won a title in 100+ years with a fan base dying for one.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I think it is preposterous to think fans had any effect on any of those player's failures. Patterson was uncoachable. Pie, Jackson and Vitters to a certain extent were just not talented enough. Rizzo and Castro are both guys that have had some success, and Castro has made all star teams despite some fans booing him and radio call in shows deriding him. I think fans think their impact is far greater than it actually is.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I wouldn't say this is something I myself believe (fans being the reason for stud prospects flaming out). It's just a conversation I've hear amongst other fans. Personally the emphasis was more on us fans and how we rarely give any "stud" a chance once we see the first signs of struggles. I couldn't believe my ears, hearing everyone wanting to trade Castro. Mind you this is a two time all star in his third full season (not counting his first call up year). Why would any real stars want to play in Chicago if they can never have a slump in a game where failing 7 out of 10 times is considered great?

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Yes, Jorge, the Cubs have had some problems with stud prospects makig it. Some probably the Cubs fault. Some the [prospects fault, and some just bad luck.
    I think it's unfair to lump Baez in with those other guys. it's possible Baez doesn't become great, but it will be because of what Baez does, not because of what Patterson or Pie did.
    I see Baez as having generational type skills. I also see Baez's ceiling as a decent feieding power hitting SS/3b who doesn't hit for avg. Still valuable.
    The thing I like about Baez is (don't laugh) is his WTS. Will to succeed. Every time he has been pushed, he has exceeded expectations. I know this can't be measured, but this kids wants it.
    I ay enjoy.

    (to temper expectations, NOBODY who could do what he's doing at AA for a whole year. He's improving, but he has been very hot. No way can he sustain it.)

  • In reply to djriz:

    Paul Goldscmidtt , 2010. 31 Hrs and 90 rbi with a .331 BA and a 1000+ OPS. I believe in about 90 games. Hes been a force as a big leaguer in his 2.5 big league seasons. Baez right now is doing what Goldschmidtt did in AA ball.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Other than similar numbers, are they similar players? Or personalities/drive/demeanor? I guess what I am asking is, why does Goldschmidtt give any indication on how well Baez will do? I am sure they are not the only two to have these type of numbers in AA.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Trying to get how... "us Cubbie fans put imense pressure on the young studs we have that come to the majors and we kill their psyche at the first sign of trouble."

    I disagree that fan expectations have any effect on these players. They don't interact with us and they have no clue what you or I think of their performance on the field (other than some boos at the ballpark). Babe Ruth got heckled and booed everywhere except in NY and he seemed to have a rather nice career in spite of it.

    It is totally on them as players to succeed or fail. Their talent approach and work ethics, or lack thereof, is what determines their success or failure at the MLB level, not what some fan thinks or says on a blog somewhere in cyberspace.

    There is no way we (the fans) destroyed Patterson, Pie, Vitters or Jackson. They failed on their own. They didn't need any help from us.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    When a kid slumps hard the boo birds come flying out at HOME games. Where else is that done more than Wrigley?

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    In reply to Jorge Soler:

    New York and Philadelphia.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good try, but I'm sure Wrigley has them beat. Or maybe the Cubs just bring up worse talent?? Who knows.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    IDK How many times you've gone to Wrigley, but they do not take kindly to "studs" struggling. Boo birds come flying out instantly.

  • Baez's August slash line

    .407/.456/.728

    Thats absolutely absurd

  • Javier Baez is a beast, but wonder what his AA numbers would look like with a bit more normal BABIP (currently at .362).

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    He's going to have a high BABIP because he squares the ball up a ton. Byron Buxton has a .394 BABIP in A+ ball this year

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Both will eventually have to come down, and a lot. It's really, really hard to carry a BABIP above .320 or so, and even that is a super impressive figure.

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    In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I'm watching the games, and that BABIP makes some sense. He's squaring balls up and hitting them hard. As a result, a lot of them are finding holes. This really isn't an illusion -- he likely won't reach these insane heights against big league pitchers, but it's still pretty special nonetheless.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Miguel Cabrera has a career .346 BABIP and he's considered perhaps the best pure hitter in the past 20+ years and is surefire HOF. If people think Baez is going to be on his level, then awesome.

    On the other hand, Pujols has a career .298 BABIP, and Bonds a career .285 BABIP. It's really hard, unless you're super fast, to carry a huge BABIP (> .320 or so).

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    No one thinks Baez will have a major league .360 Baez, also no one thinks he'll have a 1.1 OPS in the majors either. But great players put up inflated numbers in the minors.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    To emphasize this fact, as a 20 year old in AA, Miguel Cabrera had a BABIP of .412.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I understand it will come down. Was just curious what his numbers would look like with a normal BABIP. That was all. Got complicated real fast here.

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    In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Um, no. You're missing the point. The point is that it may very well not come down at AA because elite players tend to dominate the level. Cabrera and Baez dominated the level. As he goes up, he will face better pitchers, make hard contact less often, and THAT will drive down the BABIP.

    Asking for a "normal BABIP" just doesn't make sense -- for elite players, that IS a normal BABIP in the minors.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ok, you win, I'm an idiot for asking a "normalized" type question. Just like John must be an idiot for consistently mentioning BABIP normalization in his writeups, both on the pitching and batting side of the equation. Guess we should NEVER look at any peripheral stats. Just go by Batting Average and ERA and call it a day.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I expect Baez to have a higher than average BABIP simply because he makes such ridiculously hard contact when he connects. More baseballs will find holes simply because it's travelling faster.

  • Baez seems to be unstoppable right now. Maybe he has truly turned the corner or maybe he is on a hot streak. Regardless, he is doing it at AA at a very young age - which is an awesome sight.

    That said, I think we should all just take a step back. When Baez comes up, I want him to be as near a finished product at there can be. Sure, we all want that - but lets get him as close as possible. I heard McLoud on KLaw's podcast yesterday and while he acknowledges that Baez is legit - he also talked a lot about his K rate, toning down his aggressiveness, etc. It didn't seem like he thought Baez would have a shot at Chicago out of spring training.

    1/2 of the people clamoring for his call-up, will be the same ones that are complaining about him when he hits .150 with a 40% K rate for an entire month(s) in 2015. Or when he constantly swings for the fences with men on 1st and 2nd with nobody out - and K's or flies out to LF.

    There is absolutely no need to bring him up after spring training or in June once the super 2 status has gone by. The cubs will likely be a 90 loss team in 2014. Lets just prepare for that now. His development is primary, cost control is secondary, his ability to help the cubs win games (next year) is tertiary (by an extreme amount).

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    Amen!

  • John, I was watching the AAA game and I think what happened to Olt could have happened to just about anyone... He hit a screaming line drive right at the SS and he leaped to catch it but dropped it... Olt probably thought it was caught so he stopped then he realized and started running full speed, bit that hesitation gave the SS enough time to recover and throw him out.

    That said, I understand benching him to let him know not to stop until he hears the ump call the play.

  • I have 2 cubs bleacher season tickets for sale sun Sept 1st vs phillies and Mon Sept 2 labor day vs marlins. If interested email me at topps_25@yahoo.com.

  • John
    Do you think the Cubs are interested in getting out of the FSL with all the rainouts occurring? I know it takes another club to move out of the another league & I dont know if the Cubs would have interest in moving their A+ team to California. I would think that the front office thinks that all the rainouts are a bit of an impedance to player development. Your (& everyone's) thoughts?

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    The last two years have been unusual in terms of rainouts. It's not the normal pattern. But it certainly hasn't helped at a time when the Cubs are sending top prospects that way.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I think they are signed either through 2014 or 2016, so nothing can happen next year.

    Along with the weather, it also is a good pitcher's league. If they move, I think they might want to move back to the Carolina League, which falls between the pitching-biased FSL and the very hitter-friendly California League.

  • How about we forget the gutting of our minors and sign a nice FA pitcher, maybe along the lines of a Matt Garza? Also, re the high BABIP for Baez-keep in mind that 24% of Baez' hits are home runs-he couldn't have a low BABIP if he tried.

  • Is there any chance Dorris stays in Kane next year and gets stretched out as a starter? He's had quite a few multi-inning performances this year that have gone well. I don't know his full repertoire like you may John, but if he has three pitches that can be effective it would be worth trying to turn him into a 4-5 type lefty. Not a bad thing to have.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    He's 87-89 on the FB with a big, slow mid 70s curve. Could possibly be a starter. If he can at least hold that velo.

  • John,
    I know that Javier Baez has not left a cover on any ball in the FSL or in Tennessee, but he's also made 41 errors in 113 games this year. That blows away the 15 which Castro has made in 123 games at the major league level. I know that Castro has made "mental errors" that don't show in those statistics, but only a dreamer would think that Baez hasn't made his share of "mental errors" as well. Doesn't that scare the bewillickers out of you? We know that Castro's errors tend to be of the throwing variety rather than fielding errors. What do Baez's tend to be? Can he make up this difference? There needs to be significant improvement in these numbers before Javier hits the major league scene, doesn't there?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Not really. Young shortstops make errors, especially at the minor league levels, mainly because they think they can make every play and force things. I think he'll be fine -- but I believe Cubs will stick with Castro.

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