Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez has progressed significantly since his debut

Javier Baez / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Javier Baez / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Once nothing more than a top of the line prospect with tons of raw talent and potential, Chicago Cubs standout Javier Baez is taking things to a new level.

Javier Baez was drafted by the Chicago Cubs as the ninth pick in the 2011 draft as former GM Jim Hendry’s final first round pick. He was viewed as a shortstop that featured tremendous pop in his bat, a rocket of an arm and an extremely quick glove.

Baez climbed the ranks of the Cubs organization quickly and made his major league debut on Aug. 6, 2014. The Cubs were out of contention at this point and wanted to see what they had in Baez, who had been raking in Triple-A with 23 home runs and 80 RBI.

I’ll always remember Baez’s debut, as he was one of the first Cubs in a long time to come in with so much hype and promise. He showed a glimpse of that potential by hitting a game-winning solo home run in the top of the twelfth inning against the Colorado Rockies. While the home run is what everyone will undoubtedly remember, before that point, Baez had gone 0-for-5 at the plate with three strikeouts.

That ultimately set the tone for the rest of Baez’s 2014 campaign with the Cubs, which was really boom or bust. It seemed like all Baez would really do was a hit a home run or walk back to the dugout after a strikeout.

In his 52 games that season, the shortstop hit just .169 at the plate to go along with nine home runs. To make matters worse, Baez was set down on strikes 95 times and struck out in an alarming 41.5 percent of his at-bats.

The Cubs of course expected to see Baez show improvements in the 2015 season but he never really got the opportunity. He spent most of his time playing in Triple-A due to a broken finger and the death of his sister. He only managed 95 total plate appearances in the majors between the regular season and the postseason, but he posted a .278 batting average and dropped his strikeout percentage to 29.5 percent.