One of the most exciting bats in the Minor Leagues is getting his call to The Show.
The Cubs will promote their No. 2 prospect Javier Baez to the Majors on Tuesday in time for the team's game in Colorado. WSCR-AM's Bruce Levine first reported the news, and the club confirmed the move later Monday afternoon. Baez will need to be added to both the 40-man and 25-man rosters before joining Chicago, which has an off day Monday, although no corresponding move was announced.
Baez, who was recently named the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com, was one of the most intriguing names in the Minors entering the season after he blasted 37 homers between Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Tennessee in 2013. He stumbled out of the gate, however, in 2014 and batted just .172 in April with Triple-A Iowa.
The right-handed slugger slowly picked up the pace as the season moved along before exploding in July, during which he owned a .300/.344/.655 slash line with 10 homers and 32 RBIs in 29 games. In what may have been the final sign he was ready for a call to the Majors, Baez notched his first multi-homer game of the season and also walked twice in a 7-5 loss to Omaha.
Despite his early struggles, the Puerto Rico native might finish his Pacific Coast League portion of the season with a serviceable .260/.323/.510 slash line with 23 homers and 80 RBIs in 104 games at the Triple-A level.
"Since the first month of the year, his approach has been much better," I-Cubs manager Marty Pevey told MiLB.com. "I don't know what his exact numbers are, I just know that he's been starting to drive the ball better. He's been a lot more patient, swinging at better pitches, giving himself a chance rather than chasing out of the zone. And he's being a better teammate."
Now that they've brought him up to the big club, the Cubs will have to find a spot in the field for the 21-year-old infielder.
Baez has played primarily as a shortstop in the Minors but is likely blocked by National League All-Star Starlin Castro, who hasn't played another position during his five years in the Majors. Iowa first moved Baez to second base on July 17, and he has played 16 games at the keystone since that time, including in nine of his last 11 contests. Former I-Cubs teammate Arismendy Alcantara has been manning second in Chicago's last seven games but has also played in center field since his own promotion in early July.
Regardless of where he plays, Baez is expected to have a big-time impact at the plate in the Majors. He received a 70 grade on his power from MLB.com, and his bat speed has been widely hailed as incredibly quick by the prospect community. That was on full display when he went deep to provide the World Team with its only runs in the All-Star Futures Game last month in Minnesota.
Along with Alcantara, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler -- each of whom ranks among MLB.com's top-100 prospects and is currently at Double-A or above -- Baez is expected to be a big part of what could be exciting times ahead at Wrigley Field.