Thursday, August 1, 2013
GM: No Baez call-up, but Olt has chance
Third base prospect Mike Olt has gotten off to a rough start at Triple-A Iowa.
Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday top prospect Javier Baez won't be called up this season but newly acquired third baseman Mike Olt could be promoted if he plays well at Triple-A Iowa over the next month.
"Not Javy. He's not quite ready," Hoyer said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "He's really improved. He went 1 for his first 22 when he first got to Double-A and since then he has played really well. He's still working on his plate discipline but his power is obviously something that is really special."
Podcast: 'Waddle & Silvy Show'
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer talks to "Waddle & Silvy" about recent trades, the future of Starlin Castro and whether Jeff Samardzija can be a No. 1 starter. Listen
Baez, a 20-year-old shortstop, batted .274 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs at high-A Daytona before advancing to Double-A Tennessee. After the slow start with the Smokies, Baez has found his power stroke with 11 home runs in 104 at-bats. But he has 35 strikeouts and is hitting just .221 with a .288 on-base percentage.
Olt, acquired in the Matt Garza trade from the Texas Rangers, has gotten off to a rough start at Triple-A Iowa, batting .097 with 11 strikeouts in 33 at-bats.
Considered a near-untouchable by the Rangers last year after hitting 28 home runs at Double-A Frisco, Olt has had a season to forget in 2013. It started with a concussion that cut his winter ball season short and continued with a tear duct problem that likely affected his play during the minor league season. He was batting .213 at Triple-A Round Rock at the time of the trade.
"He's struggled this year," Hoyer said. "He had the concussion in winter ball and has never really gotten himself going this year which is frankly why he was available in a four-player trade. If he gets it going here in the last month I think he's a guy you could see. If it ends up where he struggles the whole time I don't think we would help that by bringing him up to the big leagues. The next month will really determine a lot for Mike as far as whether he gets to the big leagues this year."
Hoyer said the Cubs were rebuffed in their efforts to acquire Olt from the Rangers in a trade last year for Garza. The Cubs bought low on the former top prospect, and Hoyer is hoping a change of scenery will pay off for Olt.
"This is a guy who just tore apart Double-A last season," Hoyer said. "We asked about him in the Garza context a year ago when we had a year and a half of Matt Garza and they said no. This year he went home from winter ball, he struggled early on. They sent him to all sorts of specialists and just throughout the year whether it's been mechanics or the tear duct issue, he just hasn't really been the same player or put up the same numbers as last year.
"We're just getting to know him here but I certainly hope that a change of scenery and maybe getting away from some of the stuff that happened over the winter can get him going because the player that we saw last year was really an excellent third baseman with big power and that's certainly something that really every team can use and we certainly could as well."