The dog days of August just received a jolt of energy for the Chicago Cubs and their fans. The much anticipated call-up of highly touted prospect Javier Baez has been made as he will make his Major League debut Tuesday night, on the road, against the Colorado Rockies. The hype of when we will see Baez bash in the big leagues is over, and now the hype of “go time” in Chicago begins as this signifies the start of the future on the North side.
Drafted in 2011, Baez has long been the Cubs’ top prospect until Kris Bryant blasted into the organization. He is currently the No. 5 ranked prospect overall on the MLB.com top-100 list with Bryant just ahead of him at No. 3. Over the last few years, Baez has displayed tremendous power in the minor leagues and has really represented the future of the Cubs’ plans under the new ownership team. After struggling early on in the season, Baez really heated up over the last two months. His major highlight was the opposite-field home run he hit in this year’s Futures Game over All-Star weekend in Minnesota. The only downside of this call-up is that this move will really start to break apart one of the best young rosters featured with the Cubs’ AAA Iowa lineup.
Once the trade deadline passed, the big question in Chicago was when the top prospects would begin to be introduced to the Wrigley faithful. The early success that fellow prospect Arismendy Alcantara has had allowed the Cubs’ front office to move Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio. On the mound, Kyle Hendricks has also found a groove as another piece to Chicago’s future landscape. Baez will only add to the growing wave of change in Chicago in a big way.
One question will be where will Baez play now that he is up with the big-league club? Starlin Castro recently rallied for a Baez call-up, and the longest tenured Cub got his wish granted. With Baez, Castro, Alcantara and Luis Valbuena, expect to see a constant infield shuffling of guys to find what may work best going forward.
What will be anticipated is seeing Baez’s approach and success at the plate. Will his light-tower power transition quickly to the majors? Somewhat fittingly, Baez’s debut will be at Coors Field, and if he is able to connect with a ball, he just might be able to hit it out of Denver entirely. When speaking with a coach who saw Baez play during his younger years, Baez hit one of the hardest and longest balls that he has ever seen. It is those types of accolades that makes this call-up stand out from any other and allows fans to really get excited for the possibilities of what could be in store.
In Chicago, the future just may be now for the Cubs. The time for people to not pay attention to the Cubs is officially over. With the call-up Baez, it will now only be a matter of time until others follow him to the Friendly Confines.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.