July 6, 2013 by Ryan S
Shortstop Javier Baez was promoted from High-A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee earlier today, and is in the starting lineup batting third for the Smokies and playing at short tonight.
Arismendy Alcantara, who had been playing shortstop for Tennessee, is hitting in front of Baez and playing second base tonight.
Interestingly, the trade the Cubs made last week of former Smokies second baseman Ronald Torreyes for international pool money was likely done by design in an attempt to free up some space for Baez, who has been raking it at Daytona.
Baez had a .274/.338/.535 at Daytona after a rough start to the season. His walk rate is up, his strikeout rate is down, and let’s not forget that he hit 17 homers in 299 at-bats in Daytona. The kid can hit.
The timing of this call up has me wondering if we’ll see him in September at Wrigley Field. It’s only the beginning of July and he has six or seven good weeks of baseball to show what he can do. Today, GM Jed Hoyer said that the transition from High-A to Double-A is the toughest one to make, so if he plays well, does that mean the Cubs think he’s almost MLB ready?
My guess is that we will not see him at the ML level this season, but I would not be surprised to see him start next season at Triple-A and reach the bigs at some point during the 2014 season.
With Starlin Castro failing at the plate, on the base paths and in the field but still only 23, the Cubs may have somewhat of a good problem on their hands.
UPDATE 1 (8:25 PM): Incredibly, Baez hit a solo shot in his first at bat with the Smokies. This dude is playing great baseball. Incredible.
UPDATE 2 (9:30 PM): The Smokies lost today’s game 8-2 to the Huntsville Stars, and Baez finished 1-for-4 with the solo homer and one strike out. Alcantara went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Better luck tomorrow, I suppose.