Despite loss, Cubs looking to future
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The future of the Cubs is so much more fun to talk about than the present.
And it's more fun to write about what happened with a top prospect at Class A Daytona Monday night than what went on at foggy Wrigley Field in a 6-2 Cubs loss to the Cincinnati Reds. (No, there won't be any jokes here about the Cubs operating in a fog since 1945.)
Brandon Phillips hit a grand slam off Cubs starter Scott Feldman in the third inning to put the Reds up 5-0.
Down in Daytona, shortstop prospect Javier Baez hit 4 home runs against Fort Myers in 4 at-bats in a 9-6 victory over Fort Myers. Baez, the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2011, also drove in 7 runs.
The Daytona club reported that Baez became the second player in Florida State League history to hit 4 homers in a game. Former Cubs minor-leaguer Ryan Harvey (first round, 2003) was the other FSL league player to hit 4 in a game, on July 28, 2006.
Baez is considered the top prospect in the Cubs system. Before Monday night's Cubs game, much of the talk with manager Dale Sveum centered on the organization's prospects, such as Baez, Daytona outfielder Jorge Soler, Kane County outfielder Albert Almora and this year's No. 1 draft pick, third baseman Kris Bryant (who has yet to sign).
Sveum said not to expect any of these kids to make their major-league debuts this year.
"That's not what we're trying to do," he said. "They're here to develop and stay at their level and produce. We're still not getting huge production, so they have to develop before they get here. You just don't call people up because they're supposed to be prospects. There's still a way they have to produce and put numbers up and be consistent."
Baez has 13 homers for Daytona. Last season between Peoria (A) and Daytona, he hit 16.
"Those are the guys we're counting on and who the organization needs to come through when you do call them up," Sveum said. "Those are our best prospects, whether it's Baez or Soler or Almora. We're still talking about a couple years away. We're not talking about next year or any time this year. Those are the guys you have to have hit, otherwise, you're back to the drawing board."
The 4-homer night didn't change Sveum's mind. In fact, he was waiting for questions about Baez.
"Obviously, it's a pretty special night for anybody at any level to hit 4 home runs," he said. "That's what we're hoping for when it all gets developed and ready to go here, those kind of days and that kind of power that changes games with one swing of the bat. My mind hasn't changed (about bringing Baez up)."
As far as the major-league game, there wasn't much to talk about other than the fog.
"For me, I grew up in a lot of fog, growing up in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, so it wasn't too weird," said Feldman, who fell to 5-5 with a 3.22 ERA. ""It was kind of surprising to see it out here, I guess. I was hoping maybe it would make it harder for them to pick up the ball, but apparently it didn't work."
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