Minor League Monday: Javy Baez
Javy Baez had an interesting minor league career. He had lots of raw tools and upside, but had to develop to become a rounded baseball player.
Javy was drafted as the 9th overall pick by Jim Hendry in 2011. Javy was only 18. He went from being a 60th ranked prospect in 2012 to 16th in 2013 to a top 5 overall in 2014. He was always known for exciting skills, but plate discipline was an issue.
Javy's minor league seasons went as such:
2011: He played just 3 games of rookie ball after being drafted. It was so short I can't draw conclusions or trends.
2012: Javy spent the entire year at class A, going from class A to A+. he also played in the Arizona Fall League. Overall he put up a .294 .346 .543 .888 slash line, with a 21.4% K rate and 4.3% BB rate.
2013: Javy split the season between A+ and AA. His stats read .282 .341 .578 .920 with a 25.4% K rate and a 6.9% walk rate. It's worth noting that Javy's OPS in A+ was .873 and then .983 in AA, so he got better as the year went along. He K rate continued to improve as the year developed.
2014: Javy spent 104 games at AAA, before making his debut with the Cubs. It was a take of two seasons. In AAA, he played well. The line was .260 .323 .510 .833, with a 29.9% K rate and a 7.8% BB rate. The power was there, but he was struggling to make contact. That year the Cubs were finishing off the rebuild, and called him up. Javy struggled greatly, with .169 .227 .324 .551 line. In my opinion, he clearly wasn't ready.
2015: Javy split time between AAA and the show. This year, his AAA numbers improved, as he cut down on strikeouts and increased OBP. He was called back up to Chicago, and had a far more respectable .289 .325 .408 .733 line.
Here are Javy's raw numbers.
Javy's journey was a bit uneven. Notice how he basically played 400 games in the minors. 200 at A and AA, then nearly 200 over 2 seasons at AAA. His raw tools were enough to get by at the lower levels, but then he had to refine once pitching got more complex. Javy still strikes out too much, but he's got a reasonable MLB batting average of .270. Baez still doesn't walk much, but his power makes up for it.
This is pretty much the same pedigree as he came up through the minors. slick glovework, solid power for an infielder. He just has to make enough contact. Fortunately, he was able to learn and grow as he went through the system. The 200 games at AAA might have been a lot, but it gave him the ability to develop into the all star he is today.
Javy Baez is a perfect example as to the importance of the minor leagues. With the 2020 season being cancelled, there might be other Javy Baez's out there who just need some time to make adjustments. If they miss out on a year of development, it could derail their entire career. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen.