Javier Baez is missing out on the chance to develop further in the Arizona Fall League. But the Cubs dont have long-term concerns about a player they think will one day become part of their core.
How did Baez wind up with a non-displaced fracture on the tip of his right thumb? To borrow a medical term from Lou Piniella, it might be classified as a Cubbie occurrence.
Celebratory high-five or (something like that), general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday. They dont know exactly when he did it, but it was some sort of odd, non-baseball-playing injury. It certainly wasnt anything negative. He didnt punch a wall or anything. But it sounds like he was celebrating and might have hit it wrong.
People whove watched Baez extensively say he plays with swagger, almost out of control at times. But the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft has made great strides. At 19, he was the second-youngest prospect in the Arizona Fall League.
Baseball America ranked Baez as the No. 1 prospect in the Midwest League after he hit .333 with a .979 OPS and 20 stolen bases in 57 games with Class-A Peoria. Hes a shortstop for now at least, or until hes close enough to the big leagues to think about playing alongside Starlin Castro. A logical path would have him returning to Class-A Daytona for the beginning of next season before finishing at Double-A Tennessee.
Baez tried to play through the injury before leaving Saturdays game. He hit .211 with four homers and 16 RBI in 14 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. Hes expected to be 100 percent by spring training.
He had had some really good moments in the Fall League, Hoyer said. Being such a young player in the Fall League and having to make those adjustments was really good for him. Thats the unfortunate part. The injurys not going to hinder anything going forward.