Name: Jeffrey Baez, OF
Age: 21 (10/30/1993)
Weight: 180 pounds
How acquired:—Signed as an International free agent on July 6, 2010. Scouted by Hector Ortega.
Boise Hawks, Northwest League, Short Season (38 G, .267/.341/.460, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 15 SB);
Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, Low A (31 G, .236/.299/.491, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB)
Prior to Cubs
The Cubs finally jumped into the Latin American market in 2010 and Baez was one of several players the Cubs signed, agreeing with Venezuelan to a $350,000 bonus. That same summer they inked SS Carlos Penalver, RHP Daury Torrez and 3B Jeimer Candelario.
Its been a slow rise through the system for Baez since he signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old. He made his pro debut on May 28, 201,1 going 1-for-4 vs Rockies and two days later, hit his first career homer, a two-run shot vs. Reds. After two full seasons and nearly 500 plate appearances in the Dominican, Baez earned a promotion to the states, playing six games in the Arizona Rookie League. Baez didn’t show much power in the DSL with 8 HR but did swipe 60 bases. In his first full season stateside, Baez participated in extended spring training and spent the summer playing 45 games for Mesa, hitting .287/.357/.384 with 25 stolen base. He ended the year at Boise, appearing in the final four games.
After another extended spring training, Baez returned to Boise and excelled, earning mid-season all-star honors while hitting .267/.341/.460 with 7 HR and 30 RBI in 38 games. After seeing his batting average drop to .164 after 13 games, Baez reeled off a 20-game hitting streak, batting .356/.417/.609 with 5 HR and 20 RBI. The streak earned the outfielder a trip out of town and spent the rest of the year on Kane County’s championship team. In 31 games with the Cougars, Baez slugged six homers and displayed his arm in right field with four assists in limited action. At the plate, Baez struggled with some swing-and-miss with a strikeout rate of 32.2%, and finished with a slash line of .236/.299/.491. Stealing 17 bases between the two leagues, Baez doesn’t look like a base stealer as his frame emulates a NFL fullback, but shows good athleticism on the bases and in the field on defense.
Still just 21, Baez has all the tools for a big season in the Midwest League as he’s one of the few Cubs outfielders with the ability to hit the ball out of the park. Couple that with a cannon of an arm, and Baez should anchor right field in South Bend. He will need to improve his K rate and prove he can hit quality pitching on a consistent basis. Baez will be Rule 5 eligible after the season and while the Cubs won’t be using a 40-man roster spot, may risk losing him if not protected during the minor league phase of the draft.