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Javier Baez

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Ednel Javier Baez

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[edit] Biographical Information

Javier Baez was a top-10 draft pick in 2011.

Baez moved to Florida from Puerto Rico in 2005. He hit .711 with 22 homers in 115 at-bats as a high school senior. The Chicago Cubs took him with the 9th pick of the 2011 amateur draft, one slot after another Puerto Rico-born, Florida-raised shortstop in Francisco Lindor. The scout was Tom Clark. He made his pro debut that summer with the AZL Cubs before moving up to the Boise Hawks. Overall, he was 5 for 20 with two doubles and two steals. He fielded terribly, with 6 errors and a .778 fielding percentage.

Baez split 2012 between the Peoria Chiefs (.333/.383/.596, 20 SB, 3 CS, 12 HR, 41 R in 57 G) and the Daytona Cubs (.188/.244/.400 in 23 G). He finished among the Cubs farmhand leaders in home runs (16, tied for 7th) and steals (24, tied for 10th). He also fielded better, at .950. Baseball America rated him as the top prospect in the Midwest League. He hit .211 with 16 RBI in 14 games for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. He was leading the AFL in RBI before an injured left thumb ended his season.

On June 10, 2013, he became the second player in Florida State League history to hit four home runs in one game, when he did so for the Daytona Cubs in a 9-6 win over the Fort Myers Miracle. Ryan Harvey had been the only other player to accomplish the feat in the FSL, in 2006. He was promoted to the Tennessee Smokies of the AA Southern League later that season, and ended up with a combined batting line of .282/.341/.578 in 130 games between the two stops, with 34 doubles, 37 homers, 98 runs scored and 111 RBI. He was ranked the #5 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America after the season.

In 2014, the Cubs assigned Javier to AAA and the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League, after he had continued to turn heads in spring training. He was named to the World team for the 2014 Futures Game played at Target Field on July 13th and again showed his tremendous power, hitting a two-run homer off Lucas Giolito that temporarily put his side ahead, 2-1, in the 6th inning. He had begun to play second base in addition to shortstop that season, in anticipation of a promotion to Chicago where All-Star Starlin Castro was seemingly entrenched at the shortstop position. On August 5th, the Cubs decided he was ready and called him up to make his major league debut that day in a game against the Colorado Rockies, playing second base and hitting second. He was hitless in his first five at-bats, striking out three times, but ended up the hero when he homered off Boone Logan to lead off the 12th inning, giving the Cubs their margin of victory in a 6-5 win. After going 0 for 4 in his second game, Baez again grabbed the headlines on August 7th, when he connected for a pair of homers in a 6-2 win over the Rockies; he went 3-for-4 on the day, with 4 RBIs. Three weeks after his debut, the Cubs brought up another one of their top prospects, Cuban OF Jorge Soler. He matched two of Baez's feats by also homering in his major league debut, doing so in his very first at-bat, and by also notching a multi-homer game in his third contest.

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