10/10 Keep an eye on Baez

At 19, Javier Baez is the second youngest player in the Arizona Fall League, and making a huge jump, competing against players who have been in Double-A or Triple-A.

“He’s a guy who, mentally, we felt was ready for the Fall League, ready to be pushed like that, ready to be challenged like that,” said Jason McLeod, head of scouting and player development for the Cubs.

On Tuesday night, Baez looked ready. The Cubs’ top prospect went 2-for-3 for the Mesa Solar Sox, hitting a solo home run in the second inning into the upper tiers of the batter’s eye in straightaway center at Salt River Fields, and added a tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth. The homer was impressive, even in the dry Arizona air.

Told that he’s one of the youngest in the AFL — only the Rangers’ Luis Sardinas is younger — Baez just shrugs.

“I’ve heard that,” Baez said. “If you do good here, you have to keep working hard. They just tell me to do my job every time, play hard, do everything right.”

He flashed some of his defensive skills as well with a diving stop of a ball, and nearly threw the runner out. Replay might have backed up Baez. What’s impressed McLeod and others are the shortstop’s instincts for the game.

“When you watch him play defense and watch him on the bases, he plays like a veteran who has been in the Major Leagues for a long time and at a very young age,” McLeod said. “That was the most pleasant surprise for me and it’s really fun to watch him on defense. It’s like he sees things before it happens.”

It wasn’t a perfect night. Baez did strike out twice. But he was perfectly positioned on defense, backing up on plays in the infield.

“He’s got tons of talent and it’s not just hitting, it’s his overall game,” said Tom Beyers, Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator. “One of his biggest strengths is aptitude. I was very impressed with how he took instruction and applied it right away in a ballgame. Some guys, that process takes longer than others. His is pretty quick, and the knowledge he has of how the game is played, he always seems to be a step ahead.”

– Carrie Muskat

70 Comments

I hope he can play 3rd.

I would like to see him at 3rd or 2nd… but if he turns out to be good defensively at SS then maybe leave him there and move castro to 2nd… a lot of possibilities. If he keeps on his tear early next year he may just get a sniff in September….. highly doubtful BUT the kid is KILLING IT!

Castro’s spot in the lineup is safe but his position shouldn’t be. Too many lapses in judgement for the second most important defensive position on the field.

It seems to me that the consensus is we NEED a third baseman, HAVE a very good second baseman so If Castro is going to be bumped from SS to make room for Baez then Castro should be given the chance to become a better thirdbaseman than he is a shortstop. We would then have a “set” infield. Moving Castro to second takes away a very good second baseman and still leaves third base unanswered. At least it would be worth a try to fill the obivious need at third base before removing an already very good player from second base. As stated in the paper today…we need more “Dirtbags” like Barney!!! Go Cubs!

heehee “Dirtbags” like Barney! haha I agree with you 100% there! :D

i was saying a possible move to 2nd for Barney because I could see him getting traded in the near future even though he is a great asset. I am not going to argue with anyone as to why but lets just leave it at barney’s only valuable to the Cubs when he is cheap and playing ridiculous defense. his bat is average…. at best… I think a lot of teams would pay to get Barney to play SS or 2B… Dbacks come to mind right off the top of my head. If we could get a quality spect or two in return or maybe Barney is a throw in piece with Garza or Soriano to get a ML ready spect then I would think this FO would do it. Castro doesn’t have the arm to play 3B nor would his bat be as valuable at 3B… Just like Theo said earlier this year on Baez… he can play multiple positions giving him and us finding a spot on the field for him. I don’t care where Baez plays as long as he is hitting well like he has so far. A three headed young core of Rizzo, Castro, and Baez is awesome.Then you think about that we got Almora and Soler with tons of talent also and it just makes you wish we could fast forward 2 years and get this team where we “think” it could be.

Now try to think of the infield with Rizzo, Barney, Castro, and Baez. Then, yeah like you, we have Almora and Soler coming in. So why dont we put them in the outfield? Remove Soriano and DeJesus and put in the new 2 players out there??…just saying…

Remove Soriano and DeJesus??? I’m on board Isabel! I think only when that happens will the Cubs have a real chance of GETTING BETTER.

YES! Finally someone that agrees with me!!!

A huge vacancy EXISTS at third base not second base. Putting the cart before the horse. Castro (another great asset) too can be traded just as well as Barney, in fact he may be the most sought after Cub the team has considering his contract, offense and age. If Castro is traded for a dynamite third baseman then Baez gets SS and Barney stays at second…since you know, the cart before the horse that is…as long as the overall infield is improved by any means, it really doesn’t matter the names on the jerseys and I am including both Castro and Barney. I would think that if there is an “untouchable” Cub it would have to be Rizzo.

I don’t think Barney, Castro or Rizzo should be traded any time soon. Barney is the best 2nd baseman I have seen, Rizzo is a great 1st baseman. My main concern is that Castro is not a very dependable SS. His 28 errors this season cost us big time. But he is the hitter! Why not move him to the outfield (he can sow some seeds out there) and get Baez into SS. We still haven’t settled on 3rd base but Stewart and Valbueno may be there until we can settle 3rd base. We haven’t really seen what Stewart can do without an injured wrist and Valbueno certainly made some fine plays at 3rd. My main concern is PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING! To me that is the very first priority for 2013. I am watching the playoffs but it’s not much fun as compared to watching my Cubs.

YES WHITE! I AGREE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY!!! ITS PITCHING WE SHOULD REALLY FOCUS ON! We have young and very talented players that are doing a good job on the defense…but we NEED pitchers that can help the team out a little. The pitchers that we have now are o.k but not good/great. ughhhhh….and I also agree that watching the play offs aren’t as fun as watching the Cubs! </3 I sit there with my grandpa and he also says he misses the Cubs, even if they were losing horribly in a game, he rather watch them then any other team. Ahhhh…hopefully next year all of us will be posting comments on here talking about the Cubs playing IN the playoffs! whoooo! :)

wasn’t putting the cart before the horse… I was saying that many teams have inquired about Barney Tigers, and Dbacks both come to mind off the top of my head. Barney’s value is high right now with him in the running for the gold glove. I was just saying IF he got traded then there could be a situation where Castro may move over for Baez… way to twist my words though… GOOD JOB!

Barney’s only valuable to the Cubs when he his cheap and playing ridiculous defense??? One can’t even begin to twist those words. ANY player that plays RIDICULOUS defense would be valuable to ANY team even if paid more than a cheap salary. Barney is valuable to the Cubs for numerous reasons beyond him being “cheaply” paid and having “ridiculous defense” and thinking anything other than that is itself riciculous. He’s a good hitter, good speed, great instincts…ALL these attributes make Barney valuable, not to mention he is Isabel’s favorite player!!
And IF Soriano gets traded there would be a situation where Castro moves to LF for Baez….. IF IF IF IF…anything is possible with IF. Not that I’m arguing with anybody, no sir, can’t do that…”I am not going to argue with anyone….” Twist away….

hahahaha! Wow Joey good job! :) See Im not the only one with the a nasty side either! haha. But I know he won’t be traded any time soon…hopefully because if he does…….well lets just say it’s not gonna be pretty when I fine out…… :/

Now that’s a “GOOD JOB” I appreciate and is heartfelt!! Nice people, nice comments. THANKS!
You are a joy to this blog Isabel!!!

hahaha thatnks joey! ^-^ I have learned so much more about the cubs from you, joey, and a lot of other people too :)

Isabel I don’t think they will trade Barney any time soon – I hope, I hope, I hope – but if they do you and I will be heard from one coast to the next! I am in Oregon and I think you may be in Chicago, and I have a sister in Connecticut so we can yell from sea to shining sea. I was very sorry to hear MammaMias saying that Baez is swearing, etc. etc. We do not need that kind of person on our team no matter how well he can play. These guys work together as a team and having someone being a prima donna is not a good idea. These players bond not only as a team but also as friends off the field. They have each other’s backs. If Baez is using the “F” word, etc. and expecting to get his way on which position he gets to play, etc. he won’t have the rest of the team at his back. I guess he needs to learn what the word “team” means.

White I’ll be happilly waiting to hear the cries! haha! But I dont know if I can say this, but if tey trade Barney-which I really hope they dont-but I think I will stay a Barney fan and just root for him even if he’s not with t he Cubs! <3 but I hope I can just stay as a Cubs AND Barney fan!!! <3

you couldn’t be more wrong… castro will not be in LF if soriano is gone…. no way… unbelievable… he hasn’t played there but 2 games in the minors. NOT HAPPENING… keep dreaming….. Barney’s bat is BELOW AVERAGE!!!!!!! How does that equate to good? League average for a 2B is .256 ave barney ==== .254… below average…… league average OPS for 2B is 699 barney===== .654…………………… HOW DOES THAT EQUAL GOOD????????? THAT EQUALS BELOW AVERAGE!!!!!!!!!!! How do you not see this? His value is all about his COST and his DEFENSE…….

Well Petrey – here we go again – you bashing Barney. Why don’t you go back and look at the hits and/or homeruns Barney made to win games or tie scores. Why don’t you go back and look at all the defensive plays Barney made to save the other team from getting runs. Since you think he is just average(which you capitalize on) why don’t you go back and look at his errorless 141 games to tie the league record? Go back and look at his many many fantastic plays. His AVERAGE is well above so many on the team and his value is much more than being what you call a cheap player. As for Castro – unless he can address his lack of attention issues I think he will become an overpaid ADD player. His 28 errors at short, his base-running issues, etc. will not endear him to the Cubs.

im not bashing Barney… I can just read the stats and see his true value. We have 2 guys at least in the minors that project to be a better all around player than Barney is right now. Don’t get too attached to him because he will be gone at some point if he continues to hit the way he does right now. I don’t mind keeping him I am just saying you guys are overvaluing him by a BIG MARGIN. And guess what? the stats back that up…. opinions < statistically evidence……. and the fact that Mamma thinks Baez is better than Harper is absurd and proves my point that he is overvaluing any Cubs player because he is a Cubs fan.

I wonder if Sveum agrees that Barney’s “value” is only related to his cost and defense? After all, isn’t he the one that put value on being a “dirtbag”. I LOVE it in here….under your skin. Castro in LF…HA! Hook, line and sinker. I see Barney’s value as more than just cost and defense because I believe in the intagible aspect of playing baseball, the instincts, the passion, the intelligence…you know, all that is MISSING in Soriano, THE GREATEST LEFT FIELDER THE PLANET HAS EVER KNOWN. This is too easy….ain’t it Isabel? Fish in a barrel. Barney fans unite!

hahahahaha!!!!! nice one Joey! ;D Barney fans? I like the sound of that! haha! I wonder if the REAL barney will ever read this….So that way he can see how many fans he has that can stick up for him! <3 (And to see that Im the biggest one of all these Barney fans! ;) )hahaha!

Barney fans unite. Amen to that. Petrey underestimates his value so badly that it is laughable. Joey understands the intangible aspect of a great baseball player. Petrey can only understand what he calls “statistics” none of which take into account the passion, instincts and intelligence which Joey so beautifully lays out.

Its okay though you guys…we all know that he’s a great player, and one of the best players! :) If Petrey wants to say otherwise, let him. We all know the truth and that becasue were Barney fans! (But Im the biggest ones right!??? ;) hahahahaha!) Okay so anyways, yeah we all have our opinios and if thats Petreys then so be it!.-So Petrey, you can believe that Barney has a low value and what ever else you want to think about him…its okay…but just know that we all diagree with you…- okay but anyways your also right Joey, “Barney fans unite!” haha Im still laughing because it sounds so cool! :D

you gotta produce to win… its fine and dandy he has passion, intelligence, and instincts but he doesn’t have the bat to produce major league average production. Its plain and simple. I am not bashing him. I am just saying you guys are overrating his value by a wide margin

whats laughable is that 3 people have the same opinion on here and you think that you are the majority of Cubs fans… I would bet if you poll more people other than this small sample size you would be surprised at the results.

Honestly I think you would be the one to “eat crow” on this one, Petrey. Start your poll.

c’mon petrey like do you think were dumb or something??? OBVIOUSLY we KNOW that were not the majority of Cubs fans! Didn’t you understand when I told you that if it’s YOUR opinion, its fine. We never once said that we think that were the majority of the Cubs fans right? No I dont think so!…You have your opinion and we have ours. Its fine. But if you want to come out and say “whats laughable is that 3 people have the same opinion on here and you think that you are the majority of Cubs fans” is not…c’mon like really??? We are just saying what we think of Barney and about other players from the cubs just like you, right? right.
Whats laughable is that there is 1 guy here that thinks he knows everything about Barney and ALL his stats and think he’s the majority of the Cubs fans…

Our little girl is all growed up! BEAUTIFUL!!! So true, ANYBODY thinking we stated that “we three” represent the majority of Cubs fans IS LAUGHABLE, naive, and oh so JUVENILE. Too bad this blog does not have an option to print in CRAYON… because maybe then the following, simple statement if written in crayon would be understood: ISABEL, WHITE AND I (JOEYDAFISH, IN CASE SOMEONE IS ALREADY CONFUSED…) ARE NOT REPRESENTIVE OF THE MAJORITY OF CUBS’ FANS NOR DO WE PROFESS SUCH. By the way Isabel, wasn’t it a great reply by Barney (nothing to do with his on field skills of course) when asked what his plans are and he said something to this: I’m going to beat Sveum at golf, and then BEAT HIM AGAIN. HA! What a guy!
Go Barney! Go Castro! Go Rizzo! Leave, Soriano!

LOL!!!! Yeah I have grown up. ^-^ hehe…wow you get him Joey! >.< hahaha!
hahaha I love how Barney can just let go of the Cubs for a bit then just feel like he can truly relax! :) GO CUBS! :D

With Beaz leaps in development, Lake’s upside, and Soler and Almora being projected at (very) good players, the possible IF and OF for the 2014 just looks ridiculous good. Riz at 1B, Barney at 2B, Castro, Lake or Beaz at SS/3B (depending on who can make the transition to play 3B) and an outfield of Jackson, Soler and Almora. If Castillo can improve a bit more next season, it looks like the Catchers job is his for the next years. All we need is pitching, pitching and pitching. Adding 1 or 2 good starters for next season and we can already see a HUGE improvement. And getting another pair for the 2014 could easily propel us to a contender for in the division.
Now about Barney and his offensive stats…. Yes, in most offensive stats he is below league average for a 2B, but of the 20 starting 2B players with at least 440 AB’s at that position, he struck out the least. Only 58 times in 548 AB’s while the average for those 20 starters is around 100 SO. Barney was out 366 times. That means that he makes good contact, but just doesn’t hit in the gaps.
If Barney would have the same number of at bats, same strike outs, same walks, but just would be out 350 times instead of those 366 he had now, he would hit .281 and that would rank him ABOVE average.
Maybe he’d better SO 153 times in a season…. that would make him a very good offensive player (as a particular player on the Cubs roster is considered) – SARCASM –
Barney is one of the few players on the current roster I wouldn’t want to trade altough I had my concerns about him before the season. But he surprised me BIG TIME.

Welcome aboard the Barney train!! You do realize of course by sharing mine, Isabel’s and White’s OPINION you risk being, well ENTITLED TO YOUR OPINION!!! Nice job Belgian!!

Joey, remember that you are me, or I am you…. or whatever the 1-person majority of cubsfan think… dang, this is confusing me/you/us again…. Oh well… GO CUBS, GO BARNEY

WHOOOOO yeah I agree with you Belgian. GO CUBS! GO BARNEY! :)

ya obviously if he could hit better he would be a better player….. thats pretty easy to figure out…. but how does that have anything to do with his production?

It seams reading isn’t one of your stongest points, petrey. He is already hitting good. the balls just aren’t dropping in the right places. I don’t think striking out 58 times in 548 AB’s is bad hitting, not for a 2B not for any MLB player. Since you like the stats so much: out of the 144 players who qualify for average (at least 440 AB’s), only 7 struck out less than Barney did. Yeah, that makes him a real bad hitter. and as for production… He’s hitting 8th in the lineup. I don’t recall ANY player in history hitting 8th who is/was a runproducer or big RBI guy.
In a team you need DIFFERENT players, not all HR hitters or not all great defensive players, but a mix of it all.
if you look at the remaining 8 teams, all of them have players with a lower AVG than Barney in their lineup (I looked at at least 380 AB’s in regular season)
STL and WSH have 1 with a lover AVG, SF has 1, DET and CIN have 3 and BAL, NYY and OAK have 4.
In comparison with that, Barney has indeed the worst AVG in the Cubs lineup, but they all are very close together while the best teams have a few very good hitters while the rest of the team is mediocre or bad at the plate.
If even teams who are in the playoffs are looking at Barney to get him into their lineup, he must be really bad….

my reading is bad? I think your comprehension is bad… ok so he doesn’t strike out much that is a great thing. That could also be seen as how weak his bat actually is because he is making contact at a good rate just not getting ON BASE… his OBP is TERRIBLE… OBP is one of the best factors to look at for production purposes. Barney’s is significantly lower than league average. If you think below average is good then you should have enjoyed watching a below average Cubs team this year but I did not…. sorry you can’t comprehend this

also i am not comparing Barney to all players… I compared him to all 2B in MLB… try and keep up here..

Kinda cozy under his skin…ain’t it?

Barney is a very good 2nd baseman, he is an old style scrappy player. His WAR is over 4, all that makes him valuable, especially right now. Biggest weakness is the bat and OBP.
Taking all that into consideration and knowing the Cubs are rebuilding. Then add this Baez kid looks very real. Barneys trade value will be very high this off season. I love the Cubs and am a loyal fan of the team. If Barney gets traded and it could happen, I am sure it will be for improvement or to make room for improvement.

his WAR is only 4+ on bref…fangraphs has it at 2+…. the reason there is a big difference is because bref puts a lot of emphasis on defensive statistics. Whether thats good or bad i won’t argue. I usually use bref… but fangraphs is more widely accepted for some reason. Again I am not bashing Barney. I am just saying people in here overrate him GREATLY…

Why is it that when we get a good player, a seasoned player we immediately start talking about their “trade value” and think that it is time to trade them for someone better? Seems to me this “grass is greener” mentaility can deplete us of some of our best players. One case that comes to mind is Sean Marshall. We need good pitchers so badly and we traded him for what? Seems to me he would have been great for our 2012 season. Now Barney’s “value” has gone up because of his stellar defense and we are thinking of looking for someone better. Does not make sense to me. Knowing how Barney approaches the game I truly believe that his offense will get better and better. He does not accept “average” in his mentality. He will, I know, work on becoming “above average”. He should be a Cub for years to come, not traded. He is already far above average in his defense. Let’s keep our valuable players – Rizzo, Barney, Sappelt, etc. and build around them – not trade them.

marshall was traded because 1) his value was at its highest its ever been 2) Reds were willing to pay a hefty price to get him 3) Cubs only had one more year of control and Marshall was going to cost significantly more

Just an FYI re: Baez playing 3B on Wed for Mesa in AFL, that may have been the first time he’s ever played 3B (he did not play there in Minors). Team really likes Baez at SS. Cubs do need a 3B. Maybe Castro could move there? Just a thought.

ALLRIGHT CARRIE!!! WAY TO GO! Just as I thought…and it’s a GOOD thought. The Cubs have a void at 3B to fill….NOT second base as some would prefer. Nice job.

Good thought Carrie! What is Baez’s error record at SS? Castro might do better on that score at 3rd. His errors at SS were certainly not acceptable. In answer to Petrey on Marshall’s trade that is exactly what I was talking about when I asked why we trade a really good player when their “trade value” is high. So what if Marshall was going to cost significantly more! At least we would still have a valuable pitcher. You want cheap players, then you want to trade them when their value goes up. What a vicious circle. These players surely deserve to be paid well when they are a valuable asset to the team. These guys go out there every day putting their bodies at risk – getting hit in the head when at bat, facing injuries every single game. It seems that Petrey wants them to do all that “on the cheap” and then trade them if they get too valuable to pay decently. As I said – vicious circle.

thats not what I want to do at all… I wouldn’t have minded to keep Marshall but then we wouldn’t have Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Torreyes….

I agree with you 100%!!! :D

Just a question to see who you guys would pick as our everday second baseman.
Player A or player B? Here are their stats:
At Bats: A-608 B-548, Runs: A-77 B-73, Hits: A-170 B-139
2B: A-32 B-26, 3B: A-4 B-4, HR: A-28 B-7, RBI: A-91 B-44
BB: A-33 B-33; SO: A-121 B-58
AVG: A-.280 B- .254, OBP: A-.324 B-.299, OPS: A-.807 B-.653
Errors: A-28 B-2, Fld%: A-.969 B-.997
Age: A-28 B-26

I’ll pick Barney every time!!!!! His errorless 141 games saved many runs from other teams. So I want B at 2nd. B for Barney.

A by a wide margin…

Petrey, the Cubs actually have player A in the lineup…. His name: Soriano… those were his stats from 2004. And still…. NOT1 team wanted him as at 2B. because his defence is really BAD

A probably wouldn’t be a very good 2nd baseman with 28 errors, Petrey. We need someone who can stop the other team from scoring runs. That would be B.

now we are going back to soriano?? come on… Soriano isn’t a 2B we know that.

I know, that’s why I picked his stats and he was playing 2B every day at that time. And yet you choose him purely on numbers. I guess you are only happy with a 2B who hits .300 with a OPS of .800, who also has 200 hits, 100 runs, 100 RBI’s and 30 HR’s to go along with 0 errors and a 1.000 fld%… good luck in finding that…..
Or you are just an ingnorant fanboy who only looks a big hitters without having any knowledge of the game itself, if so… please move on to the AL and root for the White Sox
You also mentioned in a previous post about Barney’s WAR. Without knowing who player A was, you picked him. His WAR that year was 2.1 (fangraph) or 1.8 (Bref). On both sites, Barney’s WAR was higher: 2.5 (fangraph) or 4.6 (Bref).
So no matter what, at 2B defense is much more important than offense.

Thank you, thank you Belgian Cubbie!! At last – someone who fully understands the importance of defense at 2nd base. You have made such a good case today concerning this issue that I give you a handshake long distance. I am a fanatic Barney fan, as anyone who blogs also knows that I am. But to have his playing at 2nd base proven to be of importance makes me feel vindicated and happy.

you NEED defense at 2B… with a runner at 3rd, any ball hit to the right side of the infield that passes the secondbaseman, will result in a run scored… just plain and simple Baseball 101… something that every player learns at a very young age. With my team, my best 2 defensive players are on 2B and 3B, nomatter what their offensive numbers are… my big bats all spend their time in OF watching my IF kill the plays with their defense.

Ohhh Yeah! Me and you right white!? We both love Barney!?!?!?!?! :) haha

Awesome Belgian, just awesome. You are a civil, respectful debater….and you brought your A GAME!!! Good job. So much more to this great game of baseball than stats, facts and numbers.
Hats off.

I agree Joey. Belgian made his point so eloquently and respectfully. Stats, facts and numbers can go just so far in assessing a players value to a team. As you all know I am an avid Barney fan and I think he approaches the game with just the right mentality. When he was moved to 2nd base he didn’t complain – he decided to become the best 2nd baseman in the league (in my opinion) and continues to work on his offensive approach. You can’t put a “stat” on heart and determination in a player.

my A game??? I’m still in the cages, getting some BP.

Belgian, you hit a homerun yesterday. Get out of the cage.

nope, just a routine flyball to left…. and the LF couldn’t handle it ;-)

did you just say Baez > Harper?

That’s good to hear Mamma. Do you think he’s capable of playing a good third base like John is hoping?

geez there is NO WAY IN THE WORLD that Baez has more bat speed or better anything than Bryce Harper. That is the dumbest thing I have heard you say. Harper is less than 2 months older than Baez and Bryce Harper hit 22 HRs in his first year in the bigs and was an All Star all while playing great defense. Baez isn’t Harper…. Baez isn’t even close to Harper…. that isn’t an opinion either that is a plain FACT. WOW… im dizzy from how much I am shaking my head right now… Carrie help me out here its like Im talking to junior high kids.

Actually Petrey you kinda are…Im in junior high…so yeah you kinda are talking to jr high kids…at least to one….

Thanks. That is assuming Castro matures as well….which I believe I’ve seen signs of this past season. WE’RE GOING TO TURN THE CORNER SOON!!

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