Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Cubs shortstop prospect Javier Baez had a stretch recently where he hit three home runs on three pitches
One great part of spring training is the way it gives casual baseball fans their first extended look at some of their favorite team's best prospects. Some of those fans will overreact and want to hand the player with no experience above A ball the starting job based on a few weeks in Arizona or Florida.
While there is a development process that teams will follow with their best prospects, seeing them succeed against big league competition is always an encouraging sign.
Some of the best prospects this spring include Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, Miami Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich and Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.
In the case of Teheran, a big spring could go a long way towards helping him secure a spot in Atlanta's rotation when camp breaks.
For Baez and Puig, they are giving their teams and fans a small glimpse of what the future holds.
Baez, hitting .302/.318/.628 with four home runs, has been exactly what the reports have said he is. The 20-year-old is known for being a free-swinger with the best bat speed in the minors. If you have had a chance to watch him play, you can see why.
He goes up there trying to destroy anything close to the plate. He has just one walk and 11 strikeouts in 43 at-bats, but when he makes contact, the ball goes really far, really fast.
Puig was the Dodgers' big bonus baby on the international market last summer, signing a seven-year, $42 million contract. He is just 22 years old and will need at least one full year in the minors, but he is hitting a robust .500/.489/.804 in 21 games this spring.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly recently told reporters that Puig has a "Bo Jackson-type package" of skills. While that is likely a lot of hyperbole—Jackson had plus-plus power and speed—Puig has the makings of an All-Star outfielder.
Yelich isn't getting the same attention as Baez or Puig because of the team he plays for, but he is a more fully-formed prospect right now, even though he is nearly a full year younger than Puig, than either Baez or Puig.
The Marlins likely won't rush Yelich to the big leagues—nor should they, as he has yet to play above High-A—but he is hitting .381/.469/.857 and tied for third with five home runs this spring.
Teheran has seen his prospect stock drop over the last year due to home run issues and lack of development on his curveball. He has been talked about in the Braves' system for so long that it is easy to forget he is just 22 years old.
While his ceiling may not be that of a No. 1 starter, which it looked like one year ago, Teheran should still be very good if he can keep his fastball down in the zone. He has looked excellent this spring, striking out 25 and allowing just seven hits and six walks in 20 innings.
The Braves have been playing things conservatively with Teheran, but he looks ready to be in their rotation when camp breaks.