SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — At 19, Javier Baez is the second-youngest player in the Arizona Fall League, and he is making a huge jump, competing against players who have been in Double-A or Triple-A.
"He's a guy who, mentally, we felt was ready for the Fall League, ready to be pushed like that, ready to be challenged like that," said Jason McLeod, head of scouting and player development for the Cubs.
On Tuesday night, Baez looked ready. The Cubs' top prospect went 2-for-3 for the Mesa Solar Sox, hitting a solo home run in the second inning into the upper tiers of the batter's eye in straightaway center at Salt River Fields, and added a tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth. The homer was impressive, even in the dry Arizona air.
Told that he's one of the youngest in the AFL — only the Rangers' Luis Sardinas is younger — Baez just shrugs.
"I've heard that," Baez said. "If you do good here, you have to keep working hard. They just tell me to do my job every time, play hard, do everything right." — Carrie Muskat
Word was that it was a 450-foot home run.