After a very active trade deadline, the movement of players continues today with the announcement that Javier Baez is being promoted by the Chicago Cubs. Baez is a premier power prospect and he will make his debut at Coors Field, no less. This could not be scripted any better. With the Cubs trading Emilio Bonifacio, this seemed to open a spot for Baez and fantasy owners are not complaining. That being said, there may be an early explosion with him and then an adjustment period that all rookies go through. But one thing is for sure, he has power. Look at the torque and speed that Baez generates in these swings courtesy of MiLB.com:
It has been a long time since a player with this type of bat speed was promoted. Even more encouraging is that Javier Baez has shown growth in each month while at AAA:
April: 15 G, 8 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 172/238/379
May: 29 G, 15 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 250/303/435
June: 28 G, 16 R, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 9 SB, 275/345/471
July: 29 G, 21 R, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 2 SB, 300/344/655
Not only did his batting average increase each month, but so did his OBP and slugging percentages. His power surge in July had to signal to the Cubs that he is ready to make the next step. But keep an eye on his adjustment period in the majors, Billy Hamilton had a history of taking time to adapt to a new level. However, I would not be surprised to see him hit a home run or two in his debut series, but as he continues in his development there will be fewer fastballs to hit. Baez can be impatient as a hitter and will be aggressive on fastballs. He has average speed but has stolen 16 bases though he has been caught eight times. Here are his overall stats this year:
Javier Baez AAA 2014 Stats: 104 G, 64 R, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 16 SB, 260/323/510
And talk about kicking the door in to warrant attention, here are his last ten games:
Baez Last 10: 8 R, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 278/366/694
That is not a typo, he blasted five home runs over his last ten contests and slugged an eye popping .694 over that time. If you are still reading this and have not picked him up, do yourself a favor and grab him. He was available in some leagues earlier but as of this writing here is his ownership with percentages: ESPN 0.9%, Yahoo 21% and CBS 52%. I predict by tonight you may not be able to get him with the exception of leagues that do weekly FAAB’s that have already lapsed. If today is your FAAB, spend if power is a need for your team.
It is rare that a power prospect comes up for middle infield which is why Baez was on so many preseason draft and stash lists. For the owners who were fortunate enough to hold on to him, now is the time to cash in. It will be very interesting to watch his development as a major leaguer and odds are he will primarily play second base but will have shortstop eligibility in most leagues. I for one will be watching his debut in Colorado tomorrow night and Cubs fans will be out in droves this Friday when he makes his home debut. Last, daily fantasy degenerates will be drooling to see his initial price points and he will be a popular play tomorrow in Coors. Now that Baez is up, Cub’s fans can now start the Kris Bryant watch. Happy Baez day!
Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!
Statistical credits: MiLB.com, Fangraphs.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/846pMQ, http://goo.gl/T6fFho