MESA, Ariz. — Logan Watkins saw the ball soaring out of Field 5 and only heard the sound of a car window shattering.
The legend of Javier Baez added another chapter during a late round of batting practice on Friday at Cubs Park. Baseball America’s No. 5 overall prospect showed off the Gary Sheffield bat speed and crushed one into the parking lot.
“It sucks for the person who parked there,” Baez said. “They’re parking too close to the field.”
Standing at his locker after the workout, Baez dropped his head down and tried to contain a smile. Baez didn’t know what happened until Watkins walked in from the outfield. Christian Villanueva gave the play-by-play in Spanish, gesturing with his hands and making it sound like an explosion.
“(Baez) doesn’t care,” Watkins said. “He’s like: ‘Oh, cool.’ Not cool for whoever’s car it was, I guess.”
So don’t park on Cubs Way?
“Not until Group 1 stops hitting,” Watkins said, mentioning that Mike Olt had also hit a few bombs. Watkins was the organization’s minor league player of the year in 2012. Baez earned that honor last season after putting up 37 homers and 111 RBIs in 130 games combined at advanced Class-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
“That’s a pretty fun group to watch hit — they’re making that field look real small,” Watkins said. “I get in trouble if I try to do that, because that’s not really my game. But last round I usually try to put one over, at least. (Baez) can do it every round if he wants. I don’t think anyone’s going to say that’s not your game.”
Baez, the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, is still only 21 years old and will be the Opening Day shortstop at Triple-A Iowa. Starlin Castro said he delivered a simple message to Baez: Play hard and you’ll be in the big leagues soon.
“I’m trying to follow all the big guys,” Baez said. “He tells me all the time: ‘You’re going to get there whenever they think you’re ready.’ We just wait now.”