Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro suffered a mild hamstring strain in the Cubs’ spring training game yesterday and will reportedly miss anywhere between seven and 10 days of action. With this news comes a silver lining. Top shortstop prospect Javier Baez will now have a prolonged period of time with which to show the Cubs what he can do.
By all accounts, he’s doing a pretty good job so far. In his first at bat since taking over for Castro, Baez hit a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers. Just like other Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant, Baez decided to show off his power early this spring training. With such raw power and the fastest bat speed in the minor leagues, Baez seems just a few months away from being ready for a call-up.
If Castro’s injury lingers or he ends up getting injured during the season, there’s also a decent chance that Baez could receive a call-up to replace him at the position. However, once he’s in Chicago, the front office is going to want him to stay there, so there would have to be additional planning in place before that decision was made.
Baez will likely start this season in Triple-A after .282 with 37 home runs and 111 RBI across High-A and Double-A last season. Clearly, Baez is a power threat and should be in Chicago sooner rather than later.
Over the next week or more, Baez will be able to show the Cubs just how far he’s come in his development. Even facing major league pitching, he should be able to show that his bat speed and raw power are the real deal. In turn, this could convince the Cubs’ front office that he may be ready to put on a Cubs uniform permanently by this summer.