The Cubs have moved their top prospect one step closer to the major leagues, but he probably won’t get here this year.
Shortstop Javier Baez was promoted from Class A Daytona to Class AA Tennessee after Friday night’s game.
At Daytona, the 20-year-old Baez had a hitting line of .274/.338/.535 for an OPS of .873. In 299 at-bats, he had 17 home runs, 57 RBI, 21 walks and 78 strikeouts. He also had committed 31 errors.
He was the Cubs’ minor-league player of the month in June with 9 homers and a .300 average. In his first at-bat for Tennessee on Saturday, he hit a booming home run on the first swing he took.
“He owns that league,” quipped Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said it was a combination of things that got Baez bumped up.
“Really everything,” Hoyer said. “The walk total is important to us. He had a pretty good last four weeks. He’s cut his strikeouts a little bit.
“I think there are still some unfocused at-bats at times. That’s part of the maturity process, but I think he did a good job with the strike zone at High-A last month.
“The defense has been better. It’s similar to (Cubs shortstop Starlin) Castro. He’s got to eliminate some careless errors. He’s got great hands. He can certainly play the position. He’s run the bases well. He’s obviously had a monster month at the plate. He’s played better defense.
“He’s been a good teammate. It’s time for a new challenge for Javy, and I think he’ll respond well to it. It was the right time for us to do it.”
Baez was the Cubs’ first-round draft pick (ninth overall) in 2011. Hoyer was asked if there’s a chance Baez could make the major-league club in September.
“I think it’s highly unlikely,” he said. “I hate saying no chance simply to take the carrot from someone. That’s not our plan, I can say that.
“I think the best thing for him to do is go prove he can dominate Double-A. It will be a good test for him.”
Rizzo moves up:
First baseman Anthony Rizzo moved back up to third in the lineup for Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Pirates.
Rizzo began the season batting third, but Dale Sveum moved him to fifth in mid-June to get him to relax after he had slumped. Rizzo also has batted fourth four times.
Sveum said Saturday’s move was made more because the Cubs’ lineup has been hit with injuries, specifically to Brian Bogusevic and Ryan Sweeney.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.