Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/7/15

Junior Lake reached base twice in Dominican postseason play, and Frank Batista pitched a scoreless inning of relief Wednesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Dominican Republic

  • LF-CF Junior Lake went 1-for-4 with a walk as his Estrellas de Oriente club dipped below .500 with a loss to the Aguilas Cibaenas.
  • RHP Frank Batista pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Cibaenas. He walked a batter and gave up a hit in the effort. The Aguilas improve to 4-5 and sit three games back in the round robin postseason format.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz recorded an out and was awarded a hold as the Tiburones de La Guaira held off the Aguilas del Zulia 2-1. It marks La Guaira’s first win of a young postseason.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez went 0-for-4 for the Cangrejeros de Santurce in a 1-0 loss to the Gigantes de Carolina. It marks Santurce’s first loss of the postseason, dropping their playoff record to 4-1.

 

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/6/15

Christian Villanueva ripped another home run, and Javier Baez drove in a run in Caribbean postseason play Tuesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Winter League action:

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva hit his second homer of the postseason despite the Yaquis de Obregon falling to the Aguilas de Mexicali. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk. The Yaquis still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez recorded a single and drove in a run as the Congrejeros de Santurce picked up another win in round robin postseason play. He went 1-for-5 as Santurce remained perfect in the playoffs at 4-0.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched 0.2 scoreless innings of relief in the Tiburones de La Guaira’s loss to the Aguilas del Zulia. Ortiz surrendered one hit. La Guaira fell to 0-3 in the postseason.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 1/4/15

Christian Villanueva blasted a big postseason home run, and Frank Batista pitched well in relief Sunday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Dominican Republic

  • RHP Frank Batista pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the Aguilas Cibaenas’ loss to the Gigantes del Cibao. Batista did not allow an opponent to reach base and struck out three.
  • RHP Starling Peralta struggled in relief, giving up two earned runs over 1.1 innings as the Estrellas de Oriente fell to the Toros del Este. He gave up one hit and one walk in the effort.
  • LF Junior Lake went 0-for-3 with a walk for the Estrellas.

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva hit the eventual game-winning home run for the Yaquis de Obregon in their win over Aguilas de Mexicali. Trailing by a run with two on in the eighth inning, Villanueva launched his first homer of the postseason. He was 1-for-4 on the day.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez went 1-for-4 with a run-scoring single in the Cangrejeros de Santurce’s win over Criollos de Caguas.

Venezuela

  • 3B Jonathan Herrera went 1-for-3 with a double as the Navegantes del Magallanes edged out the Caribes de Anzoategui 1-0.

The Best of 2014: No 5, Baez hits the game-winning homer in his MLB debut

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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Every baseball season is filled with memorable moments, and this year’s Cubs campaign was no exception. Cornerstone players had bounceback seasons, newer additions stepped up, and top prospects made their big league debuts. To wrap up the year, we asked you to pick your top 10 moments of 2014. From now until the end of the year, we’ll be unveiling one moment per day.

No 10: Rizzo’s late-season walk-off homer
No 9: Hendricks makes an easy transition to the bigs
No 8: Castro, Rizzo named All-Stars
No 7: Maddux gets inducted into the Hall of Fame
No 6: Wrigley Field celebrates its 100th birthday

Javier Baez hits the game-winning home run in the 12th inning of his major league debut—Aug. 5 @ Colorado

Heading into the 2014 season, Cubs fans were champing at the bit to get a first look at top prospect Javier Baez, who hit 37 minor league home runs and was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2013.

Even though his first five big league at-bats were nothing spectacular—the then-21-year-old went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts—Cubs fans in attendance at Coors Field got what they came for when Baez stepped up to lead off the 12th inning of a 5-5 game.

The young slugger took the first pitch he saw from southpaw Boone Logan to deep right-center field to give the Cubs a 6-5 lead and an eventual win.

“I’ve faced him before, and he threw me all curveballs,” Baez said of Logan, whom he saw in the minors when the left-hander was on a rehab assignment. “He has a good curveball. I wasn’t sitting on the curveball. I was sitting on the fastball, and he threw it, first pitch.”

While Baez showed great promise, he mostly struggled in his first major league action in 2014. Still, he managed to demonstrate the power potential that has had scouts raving for years and created an unforgettable Cubs memory.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/23/14

Christian Villanueva continued his power surge with another home run Tuesday. Here are a few notes from yesterday’s Cubs action around the Caribbean:

Mexico

  • LF Christian Villanueva launched his 10th homer of the year in the first inning, scoring the Yaquis de Obregon’s only run in a 7-1 loss to the Charros de Jalisco. He finished the day 2-for-4, and his 10 home runs are tied for fourth in the league.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk as the Cangrejeros de Santurce dropped the first game of a doubleheader against the Senadores de San Juan. In the second game, he finished 1-for-7 with an RBI double in a losing effort. The marathon affair lasted 14 innings.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/17/14

Christian Villanueva boosted his team with an extra-inning, walk-off homer, while Ivan Pineyro picked up his first victory of the winter on Wednesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva recorded a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to give his Yaquis de Obregon club a 5-4 win over the Caneros de los Mochis. It was his 10th home run of the season.

Dominican Republic

  • RHP Ivan Pineyro picked up his first win of the winter, pitching five scoreless innings in the Estrellas de Oriente’s win over the Tigres del Licey. Pineyro struck out six and walked none while giving up six hits in the victory.
  • LF Junior Lake finished 0-for-1 with two walks for the Estrellas.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez recorded a double and scored the Cangrejeros de Santurce’s lone run in a 2-1 loss to the Senadores de San Juan. He went 1-for-3 and added a walk.

Venezuela

  • DH Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4 in the Cardenales de Lara’s 6-1 loss to the Tigres de Aragua.
  • LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, giving up one hit, as the Tiburones de La Guaira topped the Navegantes del Magallanes.

 

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/15/14

With most Caribbean teams taking a day off, there weren’t many Cubs representatives on the field Monday. Here are some notes from action around the Caribbean:

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched 1.1 scoreless innings as the Tiburones de La Guaira outhit the Aguilas del Zulia Monday en route to a win. Ortiz surrendered two hits and fanned one in the effort. The Cubs claimed the southpaw off waivers from Texas shortly after the 2014 season. The 24-year-old pitched only 18.0 innings in the minors after dealing with complications from a broken foot in 2014. He had a 4.50 ERA in 16.0 innings of Double-A ball. Ortiz made his major league debut in 2013, when he pitched out of the bullpen and compiled a 2-2 record with a 4.23 ERA in 44.2 innings. The Rangers originally signed the Venezuelan native as an amateur free agent in 2006.

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez drew a walk and struck out in a suspended game between his Cangrejeros de Santurce and the Indios de Mayaguez. The game will be made up Tuesday.

 

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/14/14

Javier Baez blasted his first home run of the winter Sunday, while Junior Lake contributed to his Dominican squad. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez ripped a two-run, first-inning home run for his first round-tripper of the winter. He also recorded a double to go 2-for-4 in the Cangrejeros de Santurce’s win over the Senadores de San Juan.
  • CF John Andreoli struggled at the plate, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the San Juan loss.

Venezuela

  • 2B Luis Valbuena had an RBI single. He finished with a hit in his only at-bat in the Cardenales de Lara’s win over the Tiburones de La Guaira.
  • C Willson Contrereas was 0-for-3 as the Tigres de Aragua were shut out by the Navegantes del Magallanes.
  • RHP Loiger Padron got only one batter out, giving up three earned runs on two hits and a walk. His Leones del Caracas squad fell to the Caribes de Anzoategui.

Dominican Republic

  • LF Junior Lake went 2-for-3 and drew a walk in the Estrellas de Oriente’s 10-3 win over the Gigantes del Cibao. He also scored a run.
  • CF Arismendy Alcantara finished 0-for-4 with a walk as the Tigres del Licey fell to the Aguilas Cibaenas.

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva went hitless with a sacrifice fly and a walk for the Yaquis de Obregon in their narrow loss to the Aguilas de Mexicali.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/11/14

Javier Baez made his winter league debut Thursday, and Jonathan Herrera put up a solid hitting line. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:

Puerto Rico

  • 2B Javier Baez made his winter league debut with an 0-for-3 effort, striking out three times, but he did drive in a run on a sacrifice fly in the Cangrejeros de Santurce’s 2-0 win over the Indios de Mayaguez. Strikeouts have long plagued the infielder projected to be the Cubs’ Opening Day second baseman. Though he whiffed in more than 41 percent of his 229 major league plate appearances last year, he does have a history of struggling when he first moves up a level before eventually settling in. Despite his issues, the slugger has undeniable power. He hit 23 homers in 104 minor league games before a promotion to the majors, where he launched another nine bombs in 52 top-level games. He entered the 2014 season as the No. 5 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America. It’s also easy to forget Baez will be entering just his age 22 season in 2015.

Venezuela

  • DH Jonathan Herrera finished 2-fo-5 with two RBI and three runs scored as the Navegantes del Magallanes rolled past the Aguilas del Zulia.
  • 2B Luis Valbuena went hitless for the Cardenales de Lara in a loss to the Bravos de Margarita.

Dominican Republic

  • LF Junior Lake recorded a single as the Estrellas de Oriente cruised past the Torors del Este Thursday.
  • RHP Frank Batista pitched two scoreless innings in the Aguilas Cibaenas’ loss to the Gigantes del Cibao. It wasn’t the cleanest effort, as Batista surrendered two hits and walked two, but he did manage to strike out one batter.

Mexico

  • 3B Christian Villanueva was 0-for-4 as the Yaquis de Obregon were shut out by the Venados de Mazatlan.

 

From the Pages of Vine Line: What will the Cubs do with their surplus of shortstops?

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs may be only a brief stop away from their next destination. Or, perhaps, a shortstop. That is, if they are willing to trade one.

In his postseason address to season ticket holders, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said he expects the team to contend for a division title in 2015. And that was before marquee manager Joe Maddon first put on the pinstripes at the Cubby Bear.

With holes still to fill, the Cubs can’t stop short with their hiring of Maddon. In their quest to be the best, middle-infield depth could be the key to acquiring more pieces to the puzzle.

Since arriving in October 2011, Epstein and his front office mates have done a lot of heavy lifting to strengthen the organization—signing international free agents, making astute picks in the June amateur draft and trading for other teams’ top prospects. As a result, the Cubs’ system is rated among the consensus top three in the majors.

At this stage, moving surplus talent, notably at shortstop, could be vital to improving the major league product.

“I believe the Cubs potentially have three All-Stars in [Starlin] Castro, [Javier] Baez and [Addison] Russell,” said a top major league executive. “I watched Russell last year in the Arizona Fall League. This year in the minor leagues, he got a little thicker and stronger. This young man is going to be a fine hitter and could very well be an All-Star shortstop. I love his natural instincts. Nothing about his game is below average.”

The Cubs acquired Oakland’s top draft picks from 2012 and 2013—Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney—along with pitcher Dan Straily in a July 4 deal for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Athletics General Manager Billy Beane said he didn’t want to trade the 20-year-old Russell, rated the No. 5 prospect in the game by MLB.com, but succumbed to the urge to add pitching depth in hopes of making a deep playoff run last season.

Of the three shortstops in question, Baez has the greatest power potential. His lack of contact at the major league level—95 strikeouts in his first 213 at-bats—hasn’t tempered the club’s confidence in him. Epstein said Baez will start the 2015 campaign on the Cubs’ 25-man roster, “barring anything out of the ordinary.”

A top National League scout raved about the raw skills he sees in Baez, who turns 22 on Dec. 1.

“I love his power, and he really seems comfortable at shortstop,” the scout said. “He’s not a flashy fielder—just gets the ball and throws the runner out. Baez has less moving parts than Castro.

“Will he hit? I really think so. Remember when [Anthony] Rizzo first came up in San Diego? He struck out almost 40 percent of the time. That bat speed and the quick hands cannot be taught. [Baez] is 21 and struck out at every level a lot of times until he figured it out. I like him as a shortstop, second baseman or third baseman. And I see a lot of extra-base hits in his future.”

The Cubs’ third shortstop jewel is the young veteran Castro, already a three-time All-Star at just 24 years old. His recovery from a disappointing 2013 season was a boon for both him and the organization.

After landing a seven-year, $60 million contract in August 2012, Castro seemed to enter 2013 as if he had nothing to prove. He reported to camp 10 pounds heavier and never hit his stride, batting just .245 on the season (39 points below his current lifetime average).

In 2014, a rededicated Castro led the team in hitting with a .292 mark from the middle of the order and regained his All-Star status. Working with infield instructor Gary Jones, he also reduced his errors from 22 to 15—the first season in four he didn’t lead major league shortstops in miscues.

The question of what the Cubs will do with their surplus of middle-infield talent could be answered this winter. If so, Castro might be the likeliest to go. At least three major-market teams will be seeking a top shortstop, and Castro would seem the most marketable commodity as an already-established big league star.

Ultimately, the Cubs could elect to keep all three shortstops—each 24 or younger—and move two of them to different positions. Baez is currently scheduled to be the Opening Day second baseman, with Russell ticketed to play shortstop at either Double-A Tennessee or Triple-A Iowa.

Maddon’s arrival seems to accelerate the team’s timetable for winning. A blockbuster deal for a top young pitcher could be the next step.

In other words, don’t sell Epstein short. Not so long as he has shortstops to sell.

—Bruce Levine and Joel Bierig

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