Mar 7, 2013; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (70) leads off of first during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Cubs top prospect Javier Baez will not play in this year’s Arizona Fall League, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
General manager Jed Hoyer said the motivating factor in the decision was the fatigue Baez, 20, had been feeling after the season.
"He had a long season. When he got back from the end of it, he was emotionally drained after a long season and the playoffs and physically drained."
There were rumors that Baez, as well as other top prospects in the organization, including Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora, could be shifted defensively, as the Cubs look to determine what the best recipe for success will be as the team moves closer to playoff contention in coming years.
According to Hoyer, Baez will not see any in-game action this offseason. He will, however continue to work out in Arizona.
"After talking with us, we thought the right thing to do was let him work out in Arizona and let him take some time off and hit and work on some things. But as far as playing in the Fall league or winter ball, we mutually agreed it was a long season for him and he’s not going to the Fall League."
The Cubs’ top prospect enjoyed a monster 2013 campaign, splitting the season between Class-A Daytona and Class-AA Tennessee and hitting 37 home runs while driving in 111 runs in 130 games.
Hoyer went on to say that it appears that Baez will be the starting shortstop at Triple-A Iowa next season, something that is hardy surprising to those who watched him play since being drafted last summer.
"He’ll be our shortstop in Iowa to start next year, almost definitely."
With current shortstop Starlin Castro under a long-term contract, it appears as if someone will be making a position change in the next 12 to 24 months. Initially, many thought Baez would shift over to third, but after drafting Bryant – a third baseman – this June, that plan is again under question.
So, at least for the time being, Cubs fans, you’ll have to wait to get another glimpse of Javier Baez, who could very well be the face of the future.