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Baez knocking, but Cubs won’t open the door yet
The Cubs front office and field staff have talked about the players they might add from the farm system when rosters expand in September.
But the most talked-about player that fans want to see won’t be anywhere near Wrigley Field in uniform next month.
Class AA shortstop Javy Baez, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 draft and the Cubs’ top prospect, hit home runs 32 and 33 on Wednesday night for AA Tennessee and drove in five runs to raise his season total to 100 – numbers that lead the Cubs’ organization in both categories.
“It’s really impressice,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Baez’s combined production in 76 games for advanced-A Daytona and 43 at Tennessee. “Sometimes guys do put you in situations where you do start thinking about it, but those are obviously questions that have to be dealt with by [GM] Jed [Hoyer] and [president] Theo [Epstein].
“But I don’t see it happening.”
Baez isn’t on the 40-man roster, and the Cubs have no intention of rushing his service-time clock just to get a big-league look at the kid on a team that still is multiple – three? four? – years from competing.
“Obviously, we’re strapped with the roster and all that. … I don’t see anybody coming up that’s not on the roster,” Sveum said of September callups, “except maybe a catcher.”
The biggest additions figure to be the returns from injury of outfielder Ryan Sweeney (rib fracture), third baseman Luis Valbuena (oblique) and possibly pitcher Scott Baker (Tommy John surgery).
But the business decisions don’t discount the kind of year Baez, 20, has had in just his second full year of professional ball.
He’s second among all minor leaguers in home runs to only Houston outfield prospect George Springer (36 combined at AA and AAA). And he ranks fifth in the minors in RBIs, six behind leader Adam Walker from the Minnesota Twins system (106 for Class A Cedar Rapids).
“It’s hard to do in 142 games. Remember, we get 20 more games than they do,” Sveum said. “It’s an incredibly impressive year, especially what he’s done in AA, because that’s where a lot of good prospects, a lot of good pitching, is.”
Baez has taken off since his promotion to AA – hitting .307 with 16 of his homers, 43 RBIs and a 1.025 OPS in the 43 games there.