8/17 Baez hits 31st HR of season
Javier Baez hit his 31st home run of the season, and 14th with Double-A Tennessee on Friday, a two-run walkoff homer in the ninth. The Cubs have emphasized how they want to take time and let players develop in the Minor Leagues but could Baez force the issue next spring?
“You don’t count any of that out because we’ve seen it happen before,” Dale Sveum said Saturday. “When you have those kind of numbers and power, sometimes you do force the issue. It’s not in the plans right now, but we’ve all seen it happen.”
Baez was batting .293 with the Smokies. He batted .274 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs with Class A Daytona before he was promoted to Tennessee July 6. Sveum has watched video of Baez, who had an impressive spring with the big league team.
“You see that kind of bat speed once in a while,” Sveum said. “I’ve used Gary Sheffield as that kind of [example]. Even watching him now, it looks like [Baez] has toned down a lot of his movement and hand movement and his leg lift is a lot slower and calmer than it was in Spring Training and even early in the Minor League videos I watched. That’s what development and adjusting are about, that’s what you want to see that you’re able to handle strike to ball sliders.
“I think, in this last week or so, it seems like, listening to the reports, that’s what he’s been doing,” Sveum said of the shortstop. “It sounds like he’s laying off a lot of stuff, a lot more calmer, a lot more under control.”
— Carrie Muskat