Javier Baez is trying to make it difficult for the front office to leave him in Iowa. Baez has not said a word. Baez is producing at the plate.
Javier Baez went hitless (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI and a strikeout) in Monday’s 8-3 loss to Reno. Reports from the park indicated he just missed a home run that went for a sac fly in the third inning. And he was robbed of an extra basehit in the first inning by left fielder Garrett Weber.
In his last four games, Baez is 7-for-16 with a double, three homers, two walks and three strikeouts. Baez claims this is the best he has felt at the plate since he was with Double-A Tennessee in 2013.
Over his last 11 games dating back to May 13, Baez is 15-for-41 with two doubles, three home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts. And in 24 games for Iowa this year, Baez is batting .311/.388/.522 with four doubles and five home runs for a .944 OPS with nine walks and 25 strikeouts.
Javier Baez is slowing things down at the plate and is hitting with a confidence that was been missing last season. Brian Harper, Iowa’s hitting coach, told the Des Moines Register that Baez has cut his swing down. And almost using the exact same phrasing as Jason McLeod, Harper pointed out Baez is realizing a 400-foot home run is just as good as a 600-foot home run.
The Cubs are in no hurry to rush Baez back to the big leagues. The front office would like to see him produce for an extended period of time, just not a two- or three-week period. The plan is for Baez to stay with Triple-A Iowa and continue applying the adjustments that were discussed at the end of Spring Training.
During a recent interview on the Kap & Haugh Show, Jed Hoyer talked about the progress he is making and the Cubs immediate plans for him.
“Javy [Javier Baez] is playing well. We really like every report we get from him at Iowa. I do think we want him to sort of lock in those changes, really work hard there,” Hoyer said.
“I keep on reading, Javy Baez Watch and stuff like that. Certainly he is down there and he’s playing well, but let’s get him on a roll and get him locked in. There is going to be an injury or something that is going to happen eventually that if he’s playing well he will certainly be a great option for us. But I don’t want to rush it right now because I do feel like it’s important, given what happened at the end of last year, that he really gets on a nice roll.”
Javier Baez has been playing second base and shortstop, as was mapped out at the beginning of the season before he took a leave of absence, and there are not any plans to have him spend any time at third base or in the outfield. Baez’s value to the Cubs is as a middle infielder.
Jaron Madison told the Des Moines Register, “We haven’t talked about moving him around or playing third or any other positions right now. We’re committed to making sure he gets his work in, 60 percent at second base and 40 percent at shortstop, just to keep him fresh on both sides of second base. That’s the plan right now. That could change but right now, that’s kind of where we’re at.”
Baez has actually spent more time at shortstop than second base. Over the last 11 games, Baez has started six games at short, four at second base and one game he was Iowa’s designated hitter.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Brian Harper thinks Baez can play any position on the field, same for Addison Russell and Kris Bryant. Harper said Baez, Russell and Bryant are “talented enough to handle whatever they give them.”
If there is a Javy Baez Watch, as Jed Hoyer indicated, which position he plays will be just as important to monitor as how many times he strikes out.
- Full Report from the Des Moines Register
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from the Sun-Times