Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer paid a visit to the field during batting practice Wednesday, before his Cubs beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers 4-2.
It came as no surprise that the first question to Hoyer was about second baseman Javier Baez, who was called up from the minor leagues last week. How does Hoyer evaluate Baez's play so far?
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"Good," he replied. "Probably as expected. I think there's been some high highs and there's been some lows. He'll probably settle somewhere in the middle at some point. This is why he's here, so he can play every day, he can have those experiences. The way he is as a player, he'll learn from those things.
"I think you've already seen the talent. You've seen the things he does well. He'll just keep learning. I really do like the fact that the guys seem to have embraced him. They like having him here and teaching him what to do. It should be a good 45 days for him."
Baez provided quite a high "high" in the third inning, when he launched a home run onto Waveland Avenue, right before Anthony Rizzo followed on the next pitch with a homer to right. Baez's homer was his fourth since his call-up and his first at Wrigley Field.
"It feels good," he said. "I hit the ball pretty good, and as soon as I hit it, everybody went crazy. I knew it was gone because I hit it really good."
That was exciting enough, but the 21-year-old second baseman generates so much speed and force with his swing that even foul balls are sights to behold.
Of course, there is still much for Baez to learn in all facets of the game. He's yet to draw a walk in the big leagues, but that puts him in pretty good company with the rest of his teammates, who struck out 44 times and walked just twice in this past weekend's series against Tampa Bay.
Hoyer also was asked how he'd rate this season, and he brought up the sore subject of walks.
"It's a difficult thing to assess with one number," he said of the season. "I think we're very satisfied, obviously, with the way things have gone this last month-and-a-half as far as our talent in the minor leagues, as far as bringing guys up to the big leagues.
"We're not even close to satisfied with the record on the field. We've had some humbling moments. This weekend was humbling as far as our walk-to-strikeout ratio against good right-handed pitching. We need to get better at that."
Another interesting phenomenon played out Wednesday. The Cubs got a fourth quality start from left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who won his second straight start to improve to 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Wada worked 6⅔ innings, giving up 5 hits.
His night ended on back-to-back homers by Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado to bring Milwaukee within 4-2.
Wada originally was called up from Class AAA Iowa to fill a spot after the July 4 trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland. He's since taken a spot.
"I watch a lot of video and had a plan coming into the game," Wada said through a translator. "(Kyle) Hendricks pitched a good game yesterday, which kind of probably threw the hitters off. I just followed (catcher John) Baker's lead, and he caught a very good game."