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Monday, March 3, 2014
Javier Baez mailbag: Prefers 2B after SS

By Jesse Rogers

MESA, Ariz. -- Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs' top prospect, is expected to start the season at Triple-A Iowa, but that doesn't mean he'll finish the season there. If he performs well he should be at Wrigley Field before the season is out.

He answers your question from spring training:

A lot of scouts compare your bat speed to Gary Sheffield. Which player would you compare your style of play to? -- Zach (Villa Park, Ill.)
Javier Baez: Yeah, my swing is pretty much like Sheffield. But I'm not trying to copy anyone, just trying to hit the ball. At shortstop I want to be like Derek Jeter.

Javier Baez
Second base would be the next best position for Javier Baez after shortstop.
Hey Javier, I was just wondering, what do you think about the whole spring training process? Is this something that's completely new to you? What's the atmosphere like? Thanks for reading, and hopefully answering. -- Anthony (Champaign, Ill.)
JB: It's not new, I was here last year. It's just to get us ready for the season and to work on what we need to work on.

What are you trying to improve on most this season in preparation for the bigs? -- Alex (New Milford, Conn.)
JB: I've been hitting a lot of breaking balls and reading the ball if it's going to be a strike or not. Trying to lay off those ones that end up out of the strike zone.

Last season you really struggled for the first six weeks in Daytona, and then you caught fire. What adjustments did you make in your approach that helped you go on that run that included your four home run game before being promoted to Double-A? -- Jeff (St. Louis)
JB: I started hitting the ball to the right side more. And then let the ball get deeper in the zone. That got me going.

What's the farthest home run you've ever hit? -- Jimmy (Champaign, Ill.)
JB: In high school I hit one 446 feet. I think that was the furthest.

What position(s), other than shortstop, are you most comfortable playing? -- AJ (Tulsa, Okla.)
JB: I would say second base. You don't have to move as much as you do at shortstop. It's pretty much the same except for that. I think I can do it.

If you had your pick, what number would you choose when you make your major league debut with the Cubs? -- Edgar (Chicago)
JB: Either 10 or 23 but they both are retired for the Cubs so it doesn't matter. I'll deal with that later. (Laughing) You don't see your number so it doesn't matter to me.

What are you doing to get better defensively? -- Phil (Chicago)
JB: When I get a ground ball, I'm looking at the runner to see how far he is from the base so I know how much time I have. That's why I made so many errors last year. You have to know who's running before he hits the ball.

What do you like to do when you leave the park? -- Bobby (Chicago)
JB: Play video games.