In the coming weeks as Javier Baez continues to punish baseballs with authority and regularity you will hear all sorts of things about who he is as a player. We've all heard this with other, previous players; local radio host Dan Bernstein has, in the past, gone down the list of baseball reference most similar lists for individual players to try and draw a rough sketch of who these players are. It's a rough tool, one whose precision is lacking but it gets the job done. You do get an idea of who certain guys are based on previous references and statistical outputs through similar ages at similar positions.
It's the comp game, and the comp game is very popular with fans. It plays itself out a lot on the fantasy side of things. The popular comp being thrown out there currently is that Billy Hamilton is nothing more than Dee Gordon in centerfield. There are more than a few issues with this. Sure, both Gordon and Hamilton are players who are reliant on the speed tool, have no power and maybe they both can't hit but there is no one quite like Billy Hamilton. We've never seen anyone with Hamilton's speed in baseball and perhaps the best comp you can throw out there for him is Vince Coleman and even then it's a rough comp.
I'm guilty of doing this, particularly when it comes to projecting out futures. Players are going to be themselves, for better or worse. They might seem similar to other players in the game's history but for the most part Javier Baez will grow up to be Javier Baez. Besides, the list of shortstops with 40 HR seasons is crazy short (Ernie Banks, Rico Petrocelli, and Alex Rodriguez).
To get back to Baez, there's going to be a debate regarding his call up and his readiness to take the biggest test in baseball. If Baez does keep hitting this spring fans will clamor even more for him to break camp with the team. It's not going to happen for a simple reason: the super 2 date. I personally hate the super 2 rule and how it affects call ups but it is standard operating procedure for every baseball organization to wait until after that date passes to call up a player and start his arbitration clock (as the link stated, the new CBA made that wait even longer). The same will be true when it comes to the Cubs and Javier Baez.
In a similar vein, when Baez does get called up I don't expect a linear progression towards a hall of fame career right out of the gate. I think Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have spoiled us to the point that we can't properly evaluate what a good rookie season is. I do expect Baez to make waves when he first gets called up but there will be a readjustment period where the league will get the scouting report on him and Baez will have to learn how to overcome that initial hurdle.
Baez will struggle but I think he has the talent to figure the league out and become a very exciting player. But just keep in mind that there will be growing pains.