While the seemingly endless list of injuries to the Chicago Cubs makes headlines this spring, a more positive story has slipped beneath the radar.
The story has a name: Javier Baez.
Baez has made quite the name for himself during Spring Training this year, stepping in to play shortstop for an injured Starlin Castro. The 20-year-old is currently batting .324 with four home runs in 34 at bats during the preseason.
Not impressed by those numbers? How about this: his four homers all came within two days.
Teammate Alfonso Soriano even compared Baez’s bat speed to Gary Sheffield’s, telling CSN Chicago, “It’s the same kind of swing. He’s got quick hands and good power.” General manager Theo Epstein added, “[He has] tremendous raw power for a 20-year-old.”
Those are pretty bold comments to make about such a young player who isn’t expected to be called up to the big leagues anytime in the near future.
The young shortstop will undoubtedly play in the majors one day, but as for now, Epstein plans to keep him in the minors. “We’re excited about him, but he has a lot of work ahead of him still,” he told CSN Chicago.
Despite the performance Baez has put on during Spring Training, there are fans who don’t see the hype about the minor leaguer. Some don’t see the point in getting excited about this up and coming shortstop when the Cubs already have 23-year-old Castro at short. Did I forget to mention that Castro always represents the Cubs at the All-Star game? Why do they need another shortstop when they already have their own young superstar?
Because you never know what the future holds.
Although Castro is still young, you never know when he could get hurt (like his hamstring injury this month). There’s no harm in having a backup player in case of emergency. Adding Baez to the mix a few years from now can only strengthen this Cubs team.
Maybe you’re not impressed now, but in a few years, Javier Baez might be the real deal for the Chicago Cubs.