Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’
Javier Baez, the Cubs’ first-round pick in the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is creating a lot of buzz as he gets closer to the big leagues. However, he’s a shortstop, and the Cubs already have a talented shortstop in Starlin Castro. Do the Cubs move Baez? Not now, Theo Epstein said.
“At some point, creating options and creating versatility is a good thing,” Epstein said Thursday. “In Javy’s case, he’s got a tremendous combination of instincts and athleticism which makes us think he’ll be a natural at playing other positions.”
Epstein said amateur scouting reports say Baez could play every position, including catcher.
“I think it’ll be an easy transition for him if and when that time comes,” Epstein said. “He hasn’t even reached Triple-A yet. There’s plenty of time to do it. You don’t want to take shortstop away from a kid. Once you move off shortstop, it’s really hard to move back.
“There may be a time in the future when he moves on a permanent basis, and there may be time when we move just to give him versatility,” he said. “In Spring Training, he’ll play plenty of shortstop and that might be a time to move him around as well.”
Baez, 21, was named the Cubs’ Minor League player of the year after batting .282 with 37 home runs and 111 RBIs at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
– Carrie Muskat
* With top prospect Javier Baez not playing in the Arizona Fall League, the Cubs have added infielder Wes Darvill to the Mesa Solar Sox roster.
“He’s an interesting player and does a lot of things well on the field and has good instincts,” Theo Epstein said. “It’ll be a nice opportunity for him.”
Darvill, 22, a fifth round pick in 2009, began this season at Class A Kane County, and batted .347 in 15 games before he was promoted to high A Daytona, and hit .253 in 79 games. A left-handed hitter, he played primarily at second base, but also played third and shortstop.
Albert Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, was on the Mesa taxi squad, but now will have the chance to play every day, Epstein said.
The Cubs also pulled Arodys Vizcaino off the AFL roster so he could pitch in instructional league, and were expected to add a pitcher to Mesa.
* Second baseman Darwin Barney did not start Tuesday, but will be back in the lineup on Wednesday in the home finale. Barney was batting .156 in 20 games this month. Could he be worn down?
“You never know,” manager Dale Sveum said. “I don’t know about physically but mentally he’s probably not where he wants to be.”
* The Cubs have four players converting to catcher during instructional league, including Ben Carhart, Gioskar Amaya, Giuseppe Papaccio, and Jordan Hankins. Epstein said the moves were an “experiment” for the quartet. Carhart played first and third with Daytona this season, batting .247, while Amaya played second base for Kane County. Hankins and Pappacio, both infielders, were selected in this year’s Draft in the 11th and 18th rounds, respectively.
– Carrie Muskat
Kyle Hendricks knows the importance of a good education. Hendricks, honored on Saturday as the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, returned to classes at Dartmouth last Monday to finish his degree. He’s majoring in economics with a minor in math.
“It’s tough,” Hendricks said about going back to school after a summer of baseball. “It’s fun being back and I still know some of the guys on the baseball team there. It’s definitely difficult being back in the classroom, taking classes.”
He’d rather focus on his fine-tuning his changeup, but he’ll graduate after this final semester and then it’ll be full time baseball.
Hendricks hasn’t received the amount of attention Javier Baez has. Baez was honored as the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year on Saturday after hitting 37 home runs and driving in 111 runs at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee combined. Baez had an eye opening Spring Training with the big league team.
“The guy’s a super athlete,” said Cubs Minor League director Brandon Hyde of Baez. “There’s still a lot of developing left. Sometimes he gets big and tries to do too much but that’s just youth. As soon as he matures as a hitter and continues to grow, it’ll be scary.”
Baez, 20, was going to continue his season in the Arizona Fall League but the Cubs decided the shortstop needed some rest, so he will instead go home to Florida, but take part in two mini camps in Mesa, Ariz., in November and then January. He downplayed his impressive statistics this season.
“I was just trying to do my best every time I played on the field and tried to do good,” Baez said.
Hendricks was Baez’s teammate at Tennessee, and knows how to deal with the shortstop.
“Don’t leave it over the plate,” Hendricks said about pitching to Baez. “[If you do] it’s going to go a long way. He’s a real good player. I’m excited to be here and share this with him.”
Hyde said he’s not just impressed by Baez’s power but also his baserunning and defense. The errors he made were mainly because the shortstop tried to do too much, Hyde said.
“His instincts to play are off the charts,” Hyde said. “I think he’s just scratching the surface to be honest.”
Baez was the Cubs’ first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Hendricks, 23, was acquired in July 2012 from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal.
“He was opening our eyes from the beginning,” Hyde said of the right-hander. “He’s unbelievably intelligent, knows how to attack hitters, knows hitters weaknesses, knows hitters strengths. He’s developing a better breaking ball. What an incredible year he had.”
Hendricks combined to go 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and a complete-game shutout in 27 starts between Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He struck out 128 batters and walked 34 over 166 1/3 innings pitched. The right-hander limited opponents to a .229 batting average.
Being at Wrigley Field on Saturday was eye opening for Hendricks.
“This is what you dream of, being on this field,” he said. “It’s awesome.”
For now, it’s back to school on Monday.
“This is my last quarter,” Hendricks said. “I have four classes and then I graduate. I figure while I have the opportunity, I might as well go back. It’s only a nine week quarter, so it’ll go by quick. It’ll go by quick.”
– Carrie Muskat
Javier Baez may not be playing in the Arizona Fall League but he will make at least two trips to Mesa, Ariz., to work with Cubs hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce and others. Baez, the top prospect on MLB.com’s list of Cubs’ 20 prospects, also will play some second and some third base, but do so “at the right time,” Theo Epstein said Friday.
Baez, who be honored on Saturday as the Minor League Player of the Year, was on the Mesa Solar Sox roster for the AFL but the Cubs decided the shortstop needed a break from a long season at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. He hit 37 home runs and totaled 111 RBIs in 130 games combined.
“What I really like about him is his insincts of the game,” Epstein said. “[It's impressive] for a high school kid to show up in pro ball … to show a feel for the game, a feel to be a winning player. On defense, he’s got a great internal clock, and he knows how fast the runner is at first, he knows what he needs to do, how quick his release has to be on his throw. He was born with it. He showed that in high school and has carried that over into pro ball.”
Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development, said if Baez did have to move from shortstop, that he felt second would be an easier transition.
“I don’t think any of us envisioned he’d hit 37 home runs,” McLeod said of Baez. “There are very few 20 year olds who did what he did.”
Kyle Hendricks will be honored as the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year on Saturday as well in pre-game ceremonies. McLeod said the right-hander showed a strong ability to “dissect the plate” with his pitches. McLeod also was excited to see how C.J. Edwards, Corey Black and Pierce Johnson developed after strong seasons in the Minors.
As for third base, Kris Bryant, the team’s No. 1 pick in the June First-Year Player Draft, will play in the AFL. He will open next year in either Daytona or Tennessee. The Cubs have two other talented third baseman in Christian Villanueva and Jeimer Candelario. McLeod said Villanueva may be the best defensive third baseman in the organization. The Cubs also are eager to see what Mike Olt can do. He was acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, and will spend some time working out in Mesa.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs top prospect Javier Baez will not play in the Arizona Fall League, general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday, so the shortstop can rest for the 2014 season.
“He’s emotionally and physically drained after the season,” Hoyer said. “We have no problem with [him missing the AFL].”
Baez was one of four Cubs prospects headed to the Arizona Fall League, and would have joined this year’s first-round pick Kris Bryant, outfielder Albert Almora, who was the No. 1 selection in 2012, and Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler on the Mesa Solar Sox.
Almora and Soler both missed time in the Minor Leagues this year because of injury, while Baez started at Class A Daytona and moved up to Double-A Tennessee. The 20-year-old shortstop was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year after batting .282 with 37 home runs and 111 RBIs in 130 games in his second pro season. He will be honored on Saturday at Wrigley Field along with Kyle Hendricks, who was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
“The last thing we want him to do is go there and risk injury,” Hoyer said. “He had a full season, he had a great season, and I feel we’ll see him in Arizona working out.”
The Cubs may add another player to the Mesa Solar Sox roster.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs head into the 2014 season without a closer but Theo Epstein feels the team may have that pitcher on the roster now. Kevin Gregg, whom the Cubs signed to a Minor League deal in mid April after he was released by the Dodgers, has stepped in and posted his third career 30-save season. The Cubs began the season with Carlos Marmol as the closer, and he was replaced by Kyuji Fujikawa, until he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
“I’m a believer that closers come from a lot of different places,” said Epstein, president of baseball operations. “You find a guy with some swing and miss stuff and some courage and effectiveness earlier in the game, you should try him in the ninth inning because he has enough balls and enough stuff that he can handle the ninth inning.”
Gregg will be a free agent, and could return next year. The other options include Pedro Strop, acquired from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal, and possibly Justin Grimm.
“The bigger story for me is that we started out the year with a bullpen that didn’t perform well and that’s our fault,” Epstein said, pointing the finger at the front office. “I think over the course of the year, it really steadily improved. The pitchers deserve a lot of credit.”
* Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were on the Cubs’ big league roster last season at this time but this year was a difficult season for the first-round picks. Epstein said Vitters, who was the No. 1 pick in 2007, will be converted to an outfielder this offseason.
“We’re converting him to left field,” Epstein said. “He’s going to come to Spring Training ready to re-establish himself and force himself into the mix as one of our right-handed hitting outfielders.”
Jackson, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2009, battled injuries this season and ended on Double-A Tennessee’s roster. Epstein said Jackson may follow the same program as Vitters this offseason.
* Javier Baez, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2011, was named the Minor League Player of the Year after an impressive season. Fans want to know when Baez will be in the big leagues.
“He’s got all the ability that he needs to play Major League shortstop, not that he’s not still developing,” Epstein said. “We have a shortstop now [in Starlin Castro]. If we’re fortunate to get to that point in time where Baez is pounding on that door and Castro is healthy, then we will look to move Baez around so he can perform at other positions. I think he has a lot going for him, that he can do that. For a young kid, he has tremendous baseball instincts.”
Epstein also said Albert Almora, the Cubs’ 2012 first-round pick who was sidelined with a groin injury, is healthy and preparing for the Arizona Fall League. Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, bothered by a stress fracture of his tibia, was doing baseball activities as well, and preparing for the AFL.
– Carrie Muskat
Mariano Duncan was surprised to get a text from Cubs’ top prospect Javier Baez, thanking the former big leaguer for all he did as the shortstop’s hitting coach at Class A Daytona. Duncan, who was with the Cubs Friday in Pittsburgh, said Baez sent the message before the Minor League season ended.
“He said, ‘Thank you for having patience with me for the whole year. It means a lot to me,’” Duncan said. “I texted him back and said, ‘Thank you for listening and making the adjustments.’ When I texted him back, I said, ‘Don’t thank me for that. I get paid to do that and to try to develop you guys and make you a better player.’ All the credit should go to him. He works so hard and he listens. He did everything he is supposed to do on the field.”
On Friday, Baez was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year after he combined to bat .282 with 34 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 111 RBIs in 130 games between Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
Duncan, 50, said he was impressed with the way Baez recovered from a slow start at the beginning of the season to post the stellar numbers. The two studied video to see how pitchers were approaching him, and Duncan emphasized being prepared, and repeating his mechanics.
“The only thing thing I’m concerned about with him is to pay attention to detail and come every day to play the game right,” Duncan said. “He had a little bit of a problem in the beginning but he made the adjustments and you see what kind of year he had.
“One thing I texted him was that the only thing I want from him is when he goes to the big leagues to stay humble, and when he gets to the big leagues, be the same Javy that he is right now in the Minor Leagues,” Duncan said. “He texted me back, and said, ‘I promise I’ll do that.’ He’s got all the ability to be a good solid Major League player. He has a great future in front of him. You’ll see that kid in the big leagues plenty soon.”
Cubs fans eager to see the 2011 No. 1 pick on the big league team want to know how soon.
“It’s up to him right now,” Duncan said of the 20-year-old shortstop. “He has the ability to be a good, every day player in the big leagues. Now it’s up to him as to how quick he’ll be there. The way he developed, he’s getting very close to be there.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs Minor League 2013 leaders
Avg: Kevin Encarnacion, Boise, .319
Home runs: Javier Baez, Tennessee, 37
RBI: Baez, 111
Stolen bases: John Andreoli, Tennessee, 40
ERA: Kyle Hendricks, Iowa, 2.00 (37 ER/166 1/3 IP)
Wins: Hendricks, 13
Saves: Brian Schlitter, Iowa, 22
Strikeouts: Eric Jokisch, Tennessee, 137
GM Jed Hoyer talked to Cubs beat writers in Cincinnati and said talented prospect Javier Baez, 20, will not break camp with the Cubs in 2014 despite hitting 37 home runs and driving in 111 runs in 130 Minor League games.
“Listen, he’s really talented,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “I still think he has development left. We’re going to go into Spring Training with that mindset.”
Baez committed 44 errors, one reason he might not be ready for the big leagues.
“Guys that do that at his age normally go on to have really good careers,” Hoyer said of Baez. “He’s not ready yet, either. But what he did was pretty special.”
The Cubs are having discussions about roster decisions for 2014. Hoyer said one of the hardest things is that “we all see these players coming and we’re excited about our future and where those guys are. But we also realize it’s likely that none of those guys are going to start the season in the big leagues. As we sort of make out the lineup card, the 25-man roster for next year, that’s not going not going to be part of it.”
Tennessee scored six runs in the eighth to beat Birmingham 9-2 and avoid elimination in Game 3 of the best of five Southern League North Division playoffs. Javier Baez hit a two-run homer in the first to back Eric Jokisch, who gave up two runs over 7 2/3 innings. John Andreoli had two doubles and two RBIs, and Matt Szczur had one RBIs. The two teams meet in Game 4 today.
Daytona needs one more win to claim the Florida State League Championship after beating Charlotte, 2-0, in Game 2. Ivan Pineyro threw seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out seven. Pineyro struck out the first five batters he faced. Kris Bryant hit a double, Dan Vogelbach hit a RBI single in the first, and Chadd Krist had one RBIs. The two teams meet tonight for Game 3.
Boise will try to win its first Northwest League title since 2004 today in the Northwest League Championship Series. Jose Rosario was scheduled to start against Vancouver. The Hawks lead the best of three series, 2-0.