- The Peoria Chiefs and the Midwest League have announced that Chiefs shortstop Javier Baez was named Midwest League Player of the Week for the week of July 9-15. He is the first Chiefs position player to win the honor since August 2009 and the second Peoria player honored by the Midwest League in 2012.
Baez hit .478 last week with 11 hits in 23 at-bats as the Chiefs went 3-3. He slugged 1.130 with a MWL-best three homers, two doubles and two triples. Baez drove in six runs and scored five more while also stealing two bases and getting hit by a pitch. His OPS for the week was 1.630 and only two players in all of Minor League Baseball had more home runs or extra base hits for the week.
Baez has hit safely in 11 straight games and raised his average to .331 heading into Monday's 11:00 a.m. game against Bowling Green. He had three hits in each of the Saturday and Sunday contests against the Hot Rods and four of those six hits went for extra-bases. Baez hit his first homer at Peoria Chiefs Stadium on Wednesday in the Chiefs 1-0 win against Dayton. After hitting his first six homers on the road this season he connected on a second one at home on Saturday. The Saturday night shot was a 3-run homer and helped Baez to a career-high four RBI game. Through 40 games the 19-year-old is slugging .586 with 17 extra-base hits, 19 RBI and 27 runs scored while also stealing 16 bases.
Baez was drafted ninth overall in the 2011 draft out of Arlington Country Day High School in Jacksonville, Florida and ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs #2 prospect behind former Chief Brett Jackson. Last season he made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League with the Mesa Cubs and collected four hits in three games with two doubles, two steals and two runs scored. Baez finished the season with two appearances for the Boise Hawks in the Northwest League going 1-for-6 with a RBI in the regular season. He had one pinch-hit at bat in the NWL playoffs.
As a high school star at Arlington Country Day, Baez hit .711 with 22 home runs, 20 doubles and six triples in 115 plate appearances as a senior in 2011. He led Country Day to the National Association of Christian Athletics Championship. He signed with the Cubs last summer instead of heading to Jacksonville University on a baseball scholarship
The last Chiefs position player to win the MWL player of the Week Award was Rebel Ridling on August 2, 2009. He won it one week after Jovan Rosa also claimed the away. Josh Vitters won the award in May 2009 as the Chiefs took three MWL Player of the Week Awards that season. Kyler Burke was named MWL Pitcher of the Week June 11, the first Chiefs pitcher to win the award since Robert Hernandez for the week of June 4-10, 2007. The only other pitcher to win the award since the Chiefs changed back to the Cubs affiliation in 2005 was Sean Gallagher April 25 - May 1, 2005. Eric Patterson took home two Player of the Week Awards in 2005 while Aaron Sisk won it May 29, 2005.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.