Javier Baez’s Fast Start
When the Cubs called up phenom Javier Baez a few days ago, I thought they were jumping the gun because Baez hadn’t hit all that great at AAA Iowa. The raw power was there, but he didn’t look like a guy who was ready to hit even .250 against major league pitching.
It hasn’t taken Baez long to prove me wrong. After hitting two home runs yesterday, he’s hit three home runs in his first 14 major league at-bats. While that doesn’t prove major league pitchers won’t eventually find the holes in his 21-year-old swing and drop his batting average down below .250, it does suggest that Baez is ready to get playing time at the top level.
With the Cubs again going nowhere this season, the only reason not to bring up Baez now was the fear that if he wasn’t yet ready, getting shut down at the major league would damage his confidence. Otherwise, the best way for Baez to learn what it takes to play major league baseball is by playing major league baseball everyday for a team that isn’t going to be significantly hurt even if he does struggle.
At this point, even if Baez does struggle before the season ends, it isn’t likely to hurt his confidence much. He’s now seen that he can hit what major league pitchers have to offer. Instead, he’ll have to focus on making the counter adjustments that will be necessitated by major league pitchers making adjustments to him. That’s something every major league hitter has to do throughout his career.