It seems like I write a similar article once or twice a year, The pattern goes like this...
- Javy rips up a league
- He gets promoted
- He struggles mightily at first
- Everyone panics
- Javy figures it out and the world is right again
What makes this all the more frustrating is that this front office was transparent about this call-up. They said he was struggle. In fact, that was precisely the point. With every level Baez advances he is going to struggle. You can get him out -- but if you make a mistake, he will crush it. The higher up he goes, the fewer mistakes Baez will see.
Baez is different than Bryant and Soler. Bryant, for example, is a player that thrives on early preparation. He anticipates issues and addresses them as they are happening -- even before they happen. Baez learns by direct experience, from trial and error. He has to fail before he succeeds. But he has a tremendous amount of confidence. He goes into each new league with the assumption that he will succeed, that what has worked in the past will continue to work going forward.
That doesn't happen very often in the bigs. The competition will always work to be one step ahead and right now, they are ahead of Baez. They have him guessing and guessing wrong, neutralizing his bat speed and great plate coverage.
Other than confidence, what Baez doesn't lack for is competitiveness and an aptitude for making adjustments on the fly. He takes a lot of pride in his game and he wants to succeed very, very badly. Right now we see him getting frustrated. We shouldn't be worried about his outward displays yesterday. Consider that the next step in his adjustment. He is understanding that what he is doing now is not working and will be very open to doing what it takes to fix it. There is a pattern to Baez's transition/adjustment process that seems to go like this...
- Denial: I'll do what I always do because it has always worked before
- Failure...but with enough glimpses of success to carry him through early on
- Frustration: This is the point where the failure begins to outweigh the success
- Acceptance and adjustment: Baez understands what he is doing isn't working. We should soon see an improvement in his approach and thought process
- Success: Results begin showing up.
Rinse and repeat for the course of a year or two: Pitchers will adjust again. Baez will need to continue to respond. There will be more bumps, though hopefully not as profound as the initial entry.
I think we are at stage 3. I expect Baez to start making adjustments but I still wouldn't expect huge results right away. The adjustment period always shows an improvement in process but results always lag behind a bit. What I would expect to see is an improvement in the quality of his ABs over the next month. However, we may not see the results of that until next season.
But hey, that's the whole point.
That's why he's up right now instead of April of next season. The Cubs wanted to start the Baez adjustment process now in what is essentially a lost season in terms of W-L record. The Cubs expect to be more competitive next year. They want to get those initial growing pains out of the way now with the hopes that he can hit the ground running next year when it matters more.
For now we just need to be patient. There's no need to panic after just 21 games. Let Baez go through what we should have expected him to go through. It's part of the process.
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