Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
The Chicago Cubs confirmed Javier Baez's inclusion in tonight's lineup:
The Chicago Cubs haven't had a playoff contender to look forward to come August and September in some time, but the winds of change are blowing in the Windy City. Maybe not for this season, but the organization is loaded with promising young talents in the farm system.
And Cubs fans will be getting an extended look at one of them this season, as dynamic prospect Javier Baez will be joining the team:
Mike Axisa of CBS Sports has more on what Baez has done in his young career thus far:
Baez, 21, was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft. Baseball America ranked him as the fifth best prospect in baseball coming into the season, saying he 'profiles as an all-star-caliber, 30-homer infielder.' Baez hit .282/.341/.578 with 34 doubles, 37 home runs and 20 stolen bases split between High Class-A and Double-A in 2013.
In 104 Triple-A games this season, Baez is hitting .260/.323/.510 with 24 doubles and 23 home runs. He hit .229/.285/.424 with 11 homers and a 33.7 percent strikeout rate in his first 66 games of the year, but has put up a .315/.384/.657 batting line with 12 homers and a 23.8 percent strikeout in 38 games since.
The man swings a mean bat, and in mid-July, Keith Law of ESPN Insider (subscription required) noted that he "still has the minors' best bat speed, with great wrist and forearm strength that translates into huge all-fields power."
And he is just one of many exciting young prospects in the Cubs' system.
Kris Bryant is arguably the best slugger in the minors at the moment. Recent addition Addison Russell—who came over from the Oakland Athletics in the Jeff Samardzija-Jason Hammel trade—is a star in the making at shortstop and one of the reasons Baez has recently moved from shortstop to second base. If Jorge Soler can overcome some injury woes, he'll be one of the most exciting outfield prospects in all of baseball.
The Cubs also have talented younger players already on the roster. Anthony Rizzo is just 24 and is hitting .286 with 25 homers, 60 RBI and 74 runs scored. Starlin Castro is also just 24 and has been rejuvenated this season, hitting .277 with 11 homers and 59 RBI.
Baez is going to have to adjust to playing second base in the majors, of course. He'll face an adjustment period against MLB pitching too. Arismendy Alcantara still deserves a long, hard look at second base. Baez might even get some time at third.
But there's no question that he is one of the game's most exciting young prospects, and Cubs fans have absolutely been clamoring to see what he can do with the big club. Now he has his first chance to prove he's worthy of the hype.