It seems counterproductive to view an ejection from a baseball game as anything but negative. However, when it applies to the development of a top prospect, this scenario can be an invaluable part of the learning process. Javier Baez recently received such a lesson, which will only serve to benefit both him and the Chicago Cubs in the future.
Baez has gotten off to a slow start at triple-A Iowa, his first exposure to this level of the minor league system. After striking out on a check swing, Baez reacted in frustration by throwing up his arms, an action that resulting in his ejection from the game. Of course, it is human nature to become frustrated from time to time, particularly for a young player, but the real lesson was applied when Baez returned to the dugout.
A number of teammates, most notably catcher Eli Whiteside, reminded Baez that this type of reaction was not appropriate. Words were subsequently exchanged between the two players, but nothing beyond that. It was the sort of conversation that takes place in a baseball dugout frequently, but for Baez, the experience will hopefully resonate and eventually be applied at the next level.
Instead of viewing the incident in a negative light, Cubs president Theo Epstein chose to focus on the positive aspects, particularly the maturity exhibited by Baez in the aftermath. I would have to agree with Epstein in this instance. While Baez continues to develop his substantial physical gifts, the mental part of his game needs to be cultivated as well. The minor leagues are the perfect place to learn how to comport yourself on the baseball field, and this type of preparation will serve Baez well once he receives the inevitable call from the big club, which will most likely occur sometime this summer.
Baez’s talent is undeniable, but it is also encouraging to see some maturity and mental growth in his game as well. This bodes well for Baez both as a person and a ballplayer.