When Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez was called up to the big league squad on Aug. 5, there was a sense of justifiable excitement within the fanbase. Through his first major league series, Baez has done nothing to lower expectations. After just three games manning second base, the slugger is hitting .286 with three home runs and five RBI.
There are a few things we've seen from Baez already that are precursors for the rest of the season. The first thing is that he will strike out often. He started 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his first career game before whacking a game-winning home run, a 12th-inning shot off Colorado's Boone Logan to give his team a 6-5 road win.
Since he swings so hard every time at the plate, he's going to have a lot of swing-and-miss to his game.
Another thing we saw is that Baez's raw power is already elite at the big league level. Pitchers haven't seen him yet, so Baez has the advantage for now, but to hit three home runs in your first 14 big league at-bats is extremely impressive.
It's not an exaggeration to say Baez has the potential to hit 50 home runs in a full season at some point in his career.
Unfortunately, we've also seen Baez's impatient approach at the plate. In his second career game, he swung at the first pitch in his first two at-bats and recorded outs both times. As he matures, his patience may improve. However, his approach is to swing hard at every pitch, so aggressiveness may just turn out to be part of his game permanently.
Baez's minor league numbers over the past two seasons show us the same things. In 2013, he walked just 40 times while striking out in 147 instances. Then this season in the minor leagues he had 34 walks and 130 strikeouts at the time of his call-up.
In terms of power numbers, he hit 37 home runs last season and had 23 this year when the Cubs tabbed him for the major league lineup. When it's all said and done, it's likely he will hit for a decent average (he has a .278 average over parts of four minor league seasons), strike out consistently and put the ball into the seats as often as some of the game's elite power hitters.
The Cubs have 49 games remaining this season. Starting at second base, Baez figures to play in almost every game down the stretch. Based on that, along with the breakdown of his strengths and weaknesses above, here are projections for the remainder of Baez's 2014 campaign (including stats from his first series):
All minor league stats used in this analysis were provided by Baseball-Reference.
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