Baseball America named its 2013 All-Star Team today and two Cubs, shortstop Javier Baez and right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards, were named to the first team. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks was named to the second team.
Unlike the "Player of the Month" awards that I (and the Cubs) do that are based on performance, the Baseball America awards are a combination of performance and projection. It's not just the best prospect at each position, but it's pretty close to that because it's difficult to be one of the top prospects in the game if you didn't just have a great season.
Baez actually made the team as the DH, as Baseball America chose the superior defensive skills of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts to be the first team shortstop. But they wanted to get Baez's superior bat in the lineup, so to speak. In their comments, they noted that Baez led all the minors in extra base hits with 75 and RBI with 111. As far as his defense goes, they said "While Baez possesses the raw tools to play big league shortstop, he needs to clean up his fundamentals and improve his efficiency after committing 44 errors in 123 games."
Edwards came over to the Cubs from the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade, Baseball America noted that Edwards was a 48th round pick in 2011 and is "the scouting and player development success story in the minors." [italics original] Edwards dominated the low-A South Atlantic League playing for Hickory and didn't allow a single home run there over 18 starts. He picked up right where he left off after the trade to the Cubs, posting a 1.96 ERA over six starts for High-A Daytona. (Although he did allow one home run. Oh no!) In the playoffs, he allowed only one hit over ten innings. He finished fourth in all the minors in ERA with a 1.86 combined total between Hickory and Daytona.
Hendricks came to the Cubs last year in the Ryan Dempster trade, and no doubt Rangers fans will notice that two of the three Cubs prospects on these teams were drafted by Texas. Baseball America doesn't do a write-up on the Second Team players, but I can tell you that while Hendricks doesn't throw hard (89-91 mph), he does everything else you want to see out a starting pitcher. He has a solid curveball and a changeup that could be a plus-plus pitch. He knows how to set up hitters and work both sides of the plate. Of course, his control is amazing in that in 166.1 innings between Tennessee and Iowa, Hendricks only issued 34 walks. He also doesn't miss his spots much as he allowed only five home runs. He also has tremendous mound presence and doesn't get rattled when he gets into trouble.
So congratulations to Javier Baez, C.J. Edwards and Kyle Hendricks. I'm sure we'll see all three of these players in Wrigley Field soon, perhaps all three of them as early as next season.