Thursday, January 17, 2013
Cubs have no plans to move Baez from SS
By Bruce Levine
The Cubs might have a good problem: Too many talented young shortstops in Javier Baez and Starlin Castro.
The Chicago Cubs have an All-Star shortstop in 22-year-old Starlin Castro, but the organization has no plans to move top prospect Javier Baez to another position.
"I think all of us who saw him play last year every day in the field, felt the same way that this kid can really play shortstop," Cubs vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod said. "He plays the game really easy out there. He has very good instincts. Right now he is a shortstop and will be until he shows us he can't be."
The 20-year-old Baez, who is rated as the Cubs' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America, said he is not concerned about what position he will play.
"It really doesn't matter where they play me in the game, I will just do my job," Baez said. "I will do my job and play my best. I'll let the manager decide (his position)."
Baez, who is back in Chicago for the first time since being selected by the Cubs in the first round of the 2011 draft, will play at Class A in his second season of pro baseball in 2013. He played at two different classifications of Class A last year, putting up 16 home runs and 46 RBIs in just under 300 at-bats. The smart money has him starting at Class-A Daytona this spring and eventually moving to Double-A Tennessee if he continues to handle Class-A pitching.
He was leading the Arizona fall league in home runs and RBI before fracturing a finger on a high-five with a teammate.
"During the time I was hurt I couldn't hit so I am not in shape yet," he said. "I was playing around and looking to shake his hand, and I guess he wasn't looking and he grabbed my thumb."
Baez's hand speed and power to right field separate him from other top minor league prospects, according to several scout sources.
"When I was younger I was really skinny," he said. "I worked hard in my four years of high school baseball. I got really big and (power) just came to me."