After going through a couple of position changes in his young career, Chicago Cubs’ prospect Javier Baez will make yet another transition within the organization – this time at third base, according to the Des Moines Register.
The decision to move Baez to the hot corner doesn’t necessarily surprise me or at least it shouldn’t come across as a shock to most who follow this team.
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Ever since he was demoted during Cactus League play, second base had taken a bit of a hit until former shortstop Addison Russell made his big league debut shortly after Kris Bryant was promoted to the Cubs.
Things looked great for Javy in the beginning, hitting what would be the game-winning home run in his debut on the road against the Colorado Rockies last season. But as soon as he began to settle in, his biggest problem in the batter’s box appeared to be swinging and missing pitches – a lot.
Baez finished the 2014 campaign with 36 hits, nine big flies, six doubles, 20 RBI, 15 walks and 95 strikeouts while hitting a weak .169/.227/.324 through 213 at-bats.
He entered the off-season playing Winter ball in his native country and was eventually visited by new hitting coach John Mallee. Mallee was hoping to help Baez work on his mechanics after doing the same with Houston Astros’ own Jose Altuve and Chris Carter prior to jumping to the North Side of Chicago.
Following the passing of his sister, Baez took time away from the game to spend time with his family. Now that he’s back, it appears as if he’s nearly ready to be called up once again, and this time for good.
Since returning to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, Javier has 39 hits, six doubles, seven home runs, 26 RBI, 10 walks and 33 strikeouts while slashing .325/.397/.550 in 120 at-bats. He also clubbed two home runs yesterday for the I-Cubs in the 9-3 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes.
In case you missed it, fellow co-worker Nicholas Blazek mentioned in his recent Kyle Schwarber article that this is, in fact, who Javier Baez is as a player. As long as he’s hitting above .300, everything will be alright or to quote him; ‘It’s a win’ – which is absolutely true.
Current third baseman, Kris Bryant, made his first career start in left field last night against the Miami Marlins, allowing Chris Coghlan to come off the bench as a pinch-hitter if absolutely necessary later on the game.
Coghlan would enter the game for Edwin Jackson in the ninth and got himself on base with a one-out single to right field as the Cubs attempted to put together a rally while trailing 5-2.
So not only is this move great for Javier, it’s great for the organization itself, especially skipper Joe Maddon. Having Baez available on the 25-man roster with experience at third base will allow him to mix things up a little bit, eventually placing Kris Bryant into the outfield here and there as the season progresses.
Having Baez available on the 25-man roster with experience at third base will allow him to mix things up a little bit, eventually placing Kris Bryant into the outfield here and there as the season progresses. It’s just only a matter of time to determine if he’ll be able to handle the utility role, and if he does, then this team is definitely going to be a forced to be reckoned with once he receives his second promotion.
He’ll begin phase one later on tonight: