Javier Baez, shortstop (?), 6-0, 195
Drafted in the first round in 2011 (9th overall pick)
Projected landing spot in 2014: Triple-A Iowa
ETA at Wrigley Field: July 12th
After going to a couple of games in 2010 to watch Hak-Ju Lee, excuses won in 2011. I didn't get to any games. When 2012 came around, I had Javier Baez fever, catching four Peoria Chiefs games that year. In the one game I saw him play defense, he made three errors at short. Nonetheless, he was fun to watch at the plate. His bat-speed left me laughing.
And more interested in the minor leagues than I thought possible.
Baez is among the top-ranked prospects in the game. Barring injury, his stay in Iowa should last until mid-July, and will lead to viewership choices until then. I will be torn between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, obviously. But they will often be available streaming the next day, an option Kane County, Daytona, and Boise often won't provide. In short, I have no idea how I will keep in touch with what is going on in the system second-hand. Third-hand will have to do, far too often.
I have no idea where Baez will end up defensively. When I started getting serious about baseball again in the late '00's, I was still of the "RBIs are important" mindset. This "Cubs having multiple prospects of more than ancillary interest" is new on me, also. I think between Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, and a few others, questions will get answered rather soon.
Not all of them will be positive. However, if two or three hitters, and two or three arms, become viable options for six or more years in less than complementary roles, that should do three things.
It should clarify which positions need firming up. It should reduce the surcharge players demand from the front office in contract negotiations. It should help attendance, as even if the team doesn't win, seeing Baez and crew bash balls into the bleachers should be better than watching the product the last few years.
This is the final installment of Cubs Minor Parts. Thanks for reading this series, commenting, and keeping me honest. Now, I'm off to work on Draft Prep and System Sonogram articles.