Baez starring in Arizona Fall League

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Baez starring in Arizona Fall League

Arizona Fall League action kicked off last week and several Cubs got their first taste of the competitive action.

John Arguello, who runs CubsDen and focuses a lot on the organization's prospects, was down in Arizona last week and caught the last few days of the instructional league and the first few days of the AFL.

Javier Baez was the main sticking point, as he is the Cubs' top prospect in many people's eyes (including Arguello's), despite the recent additions of Jorge Soler and Albert Almora.

"Baez is definitely the draw," Arguello said. "It's nice to see the other guys in the fall league, but Baez is a start. The other guys aren't stars. He stands out...No matter who he plays against, even amongst the stars, he stands out for his bat speed and his instincts at shortstop are very good.

"You go to watch Baez. He's the guy that could be a difference-maker. It's a different feel. When he comes to bat, you know people are watching. They want to see what he's going to do next."

The Cubs just locked Starlin Castro up for the better part of the next decade, which means the shortstop position is filled, barring a position change for a franchise cornerstone player. That has led to rumors that Baez may wind up moving to third base if he continues to progress and makes good on his promise, allowing the Cubs to get both guys in the lineup.

Baez actually got some work in at third base in the AFL, and Arguello saw him make two errors and botch a throw in what was a rough day in the field for the Cubs' top infield prospect.

But he continued to impress at the plate.

"The bat speed just stands out," Arguello said. "The first game, he was a little anxious. Maybe a little too aggressive. He was a little off balance on a couple swings. He just looked like he was trying to do too much.

"The second game I went to, he looked like he was a different hitter. He was working the count a little bit better...His home run, he worked the count to 3-0. The guy threw it letter-high and he just crushed it.

"If you really want to see Baez, you have to go see the game, but you also have to see batting practice and just watch -- and listen -- to him take some swings up there. He puts on a show. It's fun to watch."

Arguello also saw some other Cubs prospects during his time down in Arizona, including Matt Szczur and Nick Struck, the organization's pitcher of the year.

Arguello saw Struck, a 23-year-old righty, pitch a couple of times, utilizing his full repertoire and displaying his aggressiveness. Szczur, a 23-year-old outfielder who was rated the No. 64 prospect by Baseball America prior to 2012, stole a couple of bases in the games Arguello saw and his athleticism was on full display, but didn't show much power.

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The Cubs take on the San Francisco Giants tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies at 7:05 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Kyle Hendricks (3-2, 3.35 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (2-4, 5.37 ERA)

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