Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’

ESPN’s Law ranks Cubs prospects among game’s elite

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Cubs prospect Kris Bryant has emerged as a top 15 prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law. (Photo courtesy of the University of San Diego)

ESPN Insider Keith Law knows his way around the minor league ranks. Since the 2012 season ended, Law has been very complimentary of the Cubs system, going so far as to rank the Cubs the sixth-best farm system in baseball back in February. And based on his recent midseason Top 50 MLB prospect rankings (subscription required), that number is likely to improve.

Recent first-round draft pick Kris Bryant, 2012 Cuban signee Jorge Soler, 2012 first-round pick Albert Almora and 2011 first-round pick Javy Baez are all in Law’s top 27. While this is Bryant’s first appearance on Law’s list, the three others have all improved their rank. It’s also worth noting infielder Arismendy Alcantara was one of eight players in the honorable mention section. Here’s what Law had to say about the quartet.

15. Kris Bryant, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 21)
Current level: Short-season Class A (Boise)
Preseason ranking: Ineligible

Signed to the biggest bonus in this year’s draft (as predicted in this space), Bryant has huge raw power from the right side, a rare and valuable commodity in and of itself, and profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat whether he’s at third base or in right field. He’s yet to play a game as of this writing.

20. Jorge Soler, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 21)
Current level: High Class A (Daytona)
Preseason ranking: 42

Soler would have been in the Futures Game and likely in Double-A were it not for a stress fracture that has him on the shelf until at least early August and possibly until instructional league, although he could pick up some needed at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.

He remains a high-ceiling player, with a quick bat, easy power and running speed, but losing a half-season of reps doesn’t help.

25. Albert Almora, OF | Chicago Cubs (age 19)
Current level: Low Class A (Kane County)
Preseason ranking: 33

The irony of one of the game’s most prominent sabermetrically inclined front offices overseeing a farm system of guys who walk once a month deserves more attention than it’s gotten. I wonder if Bryant, who walked a ton in college this spring, will become an unrepentant hacker the moment he gets to Daytona.

Almora doesn’t walk much, but he has great feel for the bat, making a lot of hard contact, and plays plus defense in center.

27. Javier Baez, SS | Chicago Cubs (age 19)
Current level: Double-A (Tennessee)
Preseason ranking: 31

The player with the best bat speed in the minors should be higher on this list, in theory, but Baez operates under the strong belief — not entirely unfounded — that he can hit anything within a foot of the strike zone, which results in low walk rates and a tendency to give away at-bats when he doesn’t get a pitch he can crush right away.

He continues to play solid defense at shortstop and the power is insane, but it would be nice if someone in this farm system would walk more than twice a month.

Javy Baez, Chris Rusin named Cubs Minor League Player, Pitcher of the Month

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Lefty Chris Rusin made his 2013 debut for the Cubs last night in Oakland. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

Left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin is having a good week. He has already been named a Pacific Coast League All-Star for Triple-A Iowa, and he made his 2013 debut with the Cubs last night in Oakland. Now he and Single-A Daytona infielder Javier Baez have been named the Cubs organization’s Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for June, respectively.

Rusin, 26, went 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA (14 ER/44.0 IP) in six June starts for Iowa, striking out 26 compared to just eight walks. He leads the PCL in innings pitched (110.0) and WHIP (1.10), and he ranks second among starting pitchers in fewest walks per 9.0 innings with a 1.89 mark.

On the season, Rusin is 7-7 with a complete-game shutout and a 3.27 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) with Iowa, recording 10 quality starts. He’s struck out 63 hitters compared to 22 walks, while surrendering just seven home runs in 110.0 innings. The 26-year-old made his big league debut with the Cubs last season, going 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA in seven starts.  He was originally selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Kentucky.

Baez, considered by many to be the top prospect in the Cubs system, batted .300 (27-for-90) with seven doubles, and a league-leading nine home runs and 28 RBI in 24 June contests. He drew nine walks, contributing to a .390 on-base percentage and recorded a .678 slugging mark. On June 10, he became just the second player in Florida State League history to hit four home runs in a single game. The performance netted him FSL Player of the Week honors.

In 73 games this season, the 20-year-old is hitting .272 (79-for-290) with 19 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs and 57 RBI. The FSL All-Star leads the league in runs scored (57), home runs and total bases (157), while ranking second in extra-base hits (40) and fourth in RBI. He was originally selected by the Cubs in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2011 draft.

Cubs’ Alcantara, Soler into MLB Futures Game

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Jorge Soler will represent the World Team in the Futures Game. (Photo by Stephen Green)

A pair of the Cubs’ most promising prospects were honored for their solid first halves on Wednesday, as middle-infielder Arismendy Alcantara and corner outfielder Jorge Soler were both selected to represent the World Team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. The annual exhibition, which will be held on July 14 at Citi Field in New York, pits the top U.S.-born prospects against the best from around the world.

The 21-year-old Alcantara has enjoyed a solid season in Double-A Tennessee this year. Primarily playing shortstop (57 appearances vs. 17 at second base), the 2008 non-drafted free agent has hit .280/.357/.465 and is fourth in the Southern League with 10 home runs and fifth in stolen bases with 19. He’s also tied for sixth in the SL with 17 doubles. The Dominican native is ranked No. 20 on MLB.com’s organizational prospect ranks.

Cuban expat Soler made news last season when the Cubs signed him to a nine-year, $30 million deal, and he has performed well in his first full season of minor league ball. The 6-foot-4, 215 pound slugger has hit .281/.343/.467 for High-A Daytona, recording eight home runs with 13 doubles and 35 RBI. Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks recently named Soler the No. 31 prospect in baseball, and MLB.com has him ranked No. 3 in the organization.

In addition to Alcantara and Soler, Cubs fans have a chance to vote for shortstop phenom Javier Baez as the final member of the World Team, as he was named a Futures Finalist.

1000 Words: Baez belts four homers

(Photos by Aldrin Capulong/Daytona Cubs)

Hard-hitting Javier Baez is widely considered one of the Cubs organization’s top minor league prospects, and the shortstop hasn’t failed to live up to the hype this season. Though he struggled to find his stroke early, Baez is now hitting .291/.339/.570 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and is in the top four in home runs and RBI in the High-A Florida State League. But nobody could have predicted the near-perfect night the 2012 first-round pick had on Monday, when he went 4-for-4 with four homers and seven RBI, propelling Daytona to a 9-6 win over visiting Fort Myers.

Baez hit a two-run homer in the first, led off the third with a solo shot to center, ripped another two-run home run to left in the fifth, and wrapped up his night with a solo shot to left in the seventh. He now has 13 bombs on the year to go along with 44 RBI.

Quartet of Cubs named to FSL All-Star Game

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Dustin Geiger is one of four Daytona Cubs who will participate in the FSL All-Star Game. (Aldrin Capulong/Daytona Cubs)

Many had a feeling that—if nothing else—the High-A Daytona Cubs would be an entertaining offensive squad. Several of the organization’s top prospects comprise the middle of a batting order that already housed a healthy balance of power and speed. So it should come as no surprise that four position players—John Andreoli, Javier Baez, Dustin Geiger and Jorge Soler—will be representing the D-Cubs in the Florida State League All-Star Game.

The 22-year-old Andreoli leads the team in hitting (.320) and on-base percentage (.390) and has 15 stolen bases, after leading the FSL in stolen bases last season. In a league known for its pitching, the outfielder is just one of seven players with an average of .310 or better. He was the Cubs’ 17th round pick in 2011.

By this point, most Cubs fans should be familiar with phenom Javier Baez. The shortstop, who will be making his All-Star debut next weekend, is widely considered the organization’s top prospect. Already an FSL player of the week recipient, Baez has a team-best nine homers to go along with his 36 RBI and a .278/.324/.514 (AVG/OBP/SLG) slash line. The 20-year-old was the ninth overall pick of the 2011 draft.

Geiger has put together a solid campaign, especially considering it’s his first full professional season as an everyday first baseman. The 21-year-old has a .299/.368/.471 line with six homers batting out of the five spot in the order. He has also drawn 21 walks and leads the team with 47 RBI. The Cubs drafted Geiger in the 24th round of the 2010 draft.

The Cuban-born Soler signed a nine-year, $30 million deal in 2012, and early returns are promising. His eight home runs are second on the team, and he leads the squad with an .855 OPS. He’s batting .291 on the year and doing it all while still assimilating to the American culture. Most prospect lists have the outfielder ranked as one of the top three players in the system.

The FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. EST at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla.

Cubs minor league recap: 4/16/13

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Javier Baez blasted his second homer of the season and recorded a stolen base Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Iowa and Tennessee both defeated their opponents Tuesday, while Daytona struggled to overcome a nine-run deficit. The Kane County Cougars tallied one win and one loss in a doubleheader after rain postponed their Monday game. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:

IOWA CUBS (4-9)

Despite being outhit 10-3, Iowa silenced the visiting Nashville Sounds with a 4-1 victory.

  • RF Ryan Sweeney (.382) extended his hitting streak to six games, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a triple (1) and an RBI (8).
  • C J.C. Boscan (.391) went 1-for-3 with a double (3) and a team-high two RBI (4). He’s hit safely in six of his first seven games to begin the season.
  • LHP Brooks Raley tossed his second-straight quality start. He’s holding left-handed hitters to a .182 batting average (4-for-22).

TENNESSEE SMOKIES (6-6)

Tennessee hit three home runs, toppling host Huntsville 4-3.

  • RF Rubi Silva (.405) clubbed his team-leading third homer. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a home run and one RBI (8).
  • 1B Justin Bour (.186) went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI (10).
  • CF Matt Szczur (.304) went 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base (6). He’s hitting .333 (12-for-36) against right-handed pitching.
  • RHP Frank Batista (1.42) converted his second-straight save despite allowing a run in the ninth inning.

DAYTONA CUBS (6-6)

Clearwater collected 27 hits and scored in every inning, defeating visiting Daytona, 15-6.

  • SS Javier Baez (.173) belted his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning. He finished 1-for-5 with the homer and a stolen base (2).
  •  RF John Andreoli (.364) and DH Dustin Geiger (.310) collected two hits apiece.
  •  2B Stephen Bruno (.422) extended his hitting streak to 10 games, going 2-for-2 with two walks, a run scored and a double (6). He’s batting .462 (18-for-39) during the streak.

KANE COUNTY COUGARS (4-7)

Game 1: Kane County plated four runs over the final two innings, defeating host Beloit 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader.

  • 2B Gioskar Amaya (.244) recorded his fourth multihit game of the campaign, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.302) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI (6).
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua (1-1, 1.00) earned his first win of the season, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings of relief and fanning three.

Game 2: Beloit scored seven runs in the second inning, racing past the Cougars, 8-3.

  • SS Marco Hernandez (.200) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double (2) and a stolen base (3).
  • LF Wes Darvill (.348) and RF Bijan Rademacher (.360) recorded two hits apiece.
  • RHP Steve Perakslis (11.37) and LHP Nathan Dorris (1.23) combined for 2.0 scoreless innings of relief.

From the Pages of Vine Line: Q&A with GM Jed Hoyer (Part 2)

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

For the April issue of Vine Line, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat sat down with Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer to talk about the 2013 Cubs, the differences between this season and last, and what to look for as the organization moves forward.

In the second part of our three-part interview, Hoyer talks about the organization’s young prospects, including slugging Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler and highly touted shortstop Javier Baez. So far this season, both Daytona Cubs players have shown promise at the plate. After just two games, Soler recorded a .333 batting average in nine at-bats, and Baez held a .250 average with one double, one home run and three RBI.

To read the entire interview, pick up the April issue or subscribe to Vine Line today. And check out part one of our interview here.

Vine Line: Fans were eager to see prospects like Jorge Soler and Javier Baez this spring. How excited were you to get a closer look at them?

Jed Hoyer: I’ll be honest, I look forward to the sixth through ninth innings [in Spring Training] more than I look forward to the first five innings. We’ll watch the veteran guys all year. Watching [Jeff] Samardzija the other day, he was clearly working on his off-speed stuff. The results weren’t the most important thing to him. When you get a chance to see Baez and Soler now, it’s nice. During the season, we’ll have to go to different minor league cities to see those guys, but getting a chance to see the young players up close is something we cherish, because we can’t do that all season.

VL: How important was it to have these kids in big league Spring Training camp?

JH: You want to see those guys learn. Seeing Baez standing next to Dale [Sveum] during the game, seeing Soler following Castro around—it’s really important that they see what it’s all about. They’re going to go off to the minor leagues this year, and they’re too busy to have a chance to watch many of our games. Now they get to see how we do things. We kind of joke about slowing things down just because there’s a lot of development left with all these guys. When they get up to the big leagues, they’ll have their struggles as well. It doesn’t mean they’re not really good prospects. Their time is not now. We have to temper ourselves all the time. As a result, we encourage the fans and media to do the same thing. It is a long process.

VL: Cubs fans have seen other highly touted prospects like Félix Pié and Corey Patterson fail to live up to the hype. How are Baez and Soler different?

JH: The truth of the matter is, there is an attrition rate with prospects. There’s no question our goal is to build up a ton of them. I’m glad we’re talking about multiple names now and not just one. I think when you start talking about just one, there’s a lot of danger. I hope this isn’t the best farm system we have. We want to be really deep, so when there is that natural attrition, some guys will outperform expectations and some guys will underperform expectations. I certainly hope not, but it’s the reality.

You grab a top 100 list from Baseball America and flip through it five years later, and there are guys who miss. I don’t think anyone is immune to that. That’s why we want to build up a lot of depth. That’s why having good drafts and doing well internationally is important. You need depth to make sure you get the best nine guys on the field, the best five starting pitchers.

VL: Everyone wants to know when guys like Baez, Soler and Albert Almora will get to the big leagues. Do you have a timetable for them?

JH: The players will determine that, not us. I want nothing more than for these guys to pound the door down and make it clear they’re ready. I think the worst thing we can do is speed up their development for the sake of some arbitrary timetable. They need to go level to level. They need to show they can control the strike zone. They need to show they’re ready. When they are, certainly, we want them here. At the same time, I don’t think we should look at it that we’re controlling it; they control it.

VL: At the Winter Meetings, you talked about how some players can’t use youth as an excuse anymore. What did you mean by that?

JH: Until you’re a true veteran player, you’ll learn new things and make mistakes. … But at some point, you’re not a young player anymore. I think Starlin [Castro] is getting close to that point. He’s probably not quite there yet. A guy [Ian} Stewart’s age, youth isn’t something you can use. [Anthony] Rizzo isn’t quite there either. He’ll probably still have some ups and downs.

You want to get to that point where you have young veterans­—that’s your ideal. If you look at the history of the game, the best players break in young, they have their ups and downs, and they start to establish themselves when they’re 24 or 25 years old. That’s what we want to build is that young group that’s been around for a while. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but the younger these guys break in, the more they can make their mistakes early and be ready in their mid-20s. That was a big part of us extending Castro’s [contract] as far as we did. He’s a 23-year-old guy who is going into his fourth season, and that’s a great thing for us.

Cubs minor league recap: 4/7/13

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Jorge Soler homered and drove in two on Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Tennessee Smokies and the Daytona Cubs picked up a win after Sunday night’s games while Iowa and Kane County both continue to search for their first victories of the season after falling short this weekend. Here are the highlights from Sunday’s games:

IOWA CUBS (0-4)
Iowa suffered its fourth consecutive defeat to start the season, falling 7-3 at Albuquerque.

  • RF Ryan Sweeney went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run.
  • CF Brett Jackson (1-for-4, R) and LF Darnell McDonald (1-for-4, R, 2B) also collected hits and a run.
  • RHP Casey Coleman allowed two runs on three hits in 2.0 innings out of the bullpen, striking out two.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES (2-2)
Tennessee stranded the tying run on second base in the ninth inning, losing 5-4 at Pensacola.

  • 1B Justin Bour (2-for-4, R, RBI) collected two hits including a RBI double in the third inning.
  • 3B Tim Torres walked and singled twice in three at bats.
  • RHP’s Tony Zych (1.2 IP, 2 H) and A.J. Morris (1.1 IP) combined to hold the Blue Wahoos scoreless over the final three innings.

DAYTONA CUBS (3-1)
Daytona scored nine runs over the final four innings to shutout Brevard County on the road, 9-0.

  • RHP P.J. Francescon (1-0) surrendered one hit in five scoreless innings, striking out six.
  • RF Jorge Soler (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, 2 RBI) homered for the second-consecutive day, knocking in SS Javier Baez (1-for-4, R, SB) in the sixth inning.
  • LF John Andreoli reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, a triple and a RBI.
  • RHP Yeiper Castillo struck out three batters in two scoreless innings.
  • RHP’s Luis Liria and Austin Reed recorded the final six outs in order to complete the shutout.

KANE COUNTY COUGARS (0-4)
Quad Cities scored two runs in the 13th inning to defeat host Kane County, 3-1, and finish off the four-game sweep.

  • CF Oliver Zapata went 2-for-5 with a walk from the leadoff spot.
  • LF Rock Shoulders (2-for-3, BB) extended his hitting streak to four games.
  • LHP Michael Heesch took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before surrendering the first hit and run of the game.
  • RHP Felix Pena pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing three hits and walking one while striking out five.

Baez, Soler impress this spring

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Top prospects Jorge Soler and Javier Baez (far left) impressed in major league camp. (Photo by Stephen Green)

CBSSports.com baseball writer and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman has been following Spring Training around the majors all month long. On Monday, he wrote a piece highlighting the top 40 players he’s been impressed with since camps began a month ago.

Included on his list are elite prospects like the Phillies’ Dominic Brown, former high draft picks like the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole and high-priced non-drafted free agents like the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig. He also included a pair of Cubs players who have been making their names known in Arizona: Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.

Below is Heyman’s brief note about each prospect:

13. Javier Baez, Cubs SS: He was sent out after a homer streak. Has to be one of the very best prospects in baseball. Cubs are stacked at shortstop.

Baez concluded his spring with the major league club by hitting four home runs over his final weekend. The shortstop hit .302/.318/.628 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 44 plate appearances, driving in four. Baez was sent back to minor league camp Monday, where the organization is deciding what level to play him.

34. Jorge Soler, Cubs OF: He was drawing raves as an all-around player in Mesa, not just a power threat. The Cubs are doing a nice job building for the future.

Soler hit just .222/.282/.389 with a homer, a triple and a double in 39 plate appearances, but showed he can handle the outfield as well as the bat. The 21-year-old was sent to Single-A Daytona Monday.

Baez and Soler optioned to minor league camp

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

It had to happen sometime, but Cubs fans in Arizona will definitely miss seeing Javier Baez and Jorge Soler play on a regular basis. The Chicago Cubs have assigned seven players—including many of the organization’s top prospects—to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 53 to 46 players.

Infielders Junior Lake and Josh Vitters have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa, while infielder Christian Villanueva has been optioned to Double-A Tennessee. Outfielder Jorge Soler has been optioned to Single-A Daytona.

Three non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: right-handed pitcher Barret Loux, infielder Javier Baez and catcher Rafael Lopez.

“I’ll be honest, [at Spring Training] I look forward to the sixth through ninth innings more than I look forward to the first five innings,” said Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. “We’ll watch the veteran guys all year. … Getting a chance to see the young players up close is something we cherish because we can’t do that all season.”

Chicago’s spring roster now consists of 24 pitchers (eight non-roster invitees), four catchers (one non-roster invitee), nine infielders (four non-roster invitees) and nine outfielders (three non-roster invitees).

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