Breathe easy, Cubs fans. It's time.
The long awaited debut of top prospect Javier Baez is finally here. The Cubs will promote their star shortstop for Tuesday night's game against the Rockies, according to 670TheScore.com's Bruce Levine.
Cubs source confirms Javier Baez to join team in Colorado on Tuesday .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) August 4, 2014
Baez, 21, is currently slashing .260/.323/.510 in 434 plate appearances at Triple-A Iowa, including 23 home runs, 64 runs, 80 RBIs and 16 steals. The fantasy impact here cannot be understated, as we likely won't see another prospect of Baez's caliber called up in 2014. (Although I can already hear the calls for Baez's former Iowa teammate, Kris Bryant.)
Baez, who has transitioned to second base in the minors, should spend most of his playing time at the keystone, with Arismendy Alcantara moving to centerfield on a more permanent basis. Starlin Castro will continue to man short. Depending on the website you play, Baez should be shortstop/second base eligible in short time.
As with any big-name prospect getting his first call to the show, the boom-or-bust factor is high. In the case of Baez, it's no different. Baez, who owns one of the quickest bats in the minors (and, now, in the majors), also owns a 30 percent strikeout rate in 2014 -- and expecting that problem to all of a sudden go away at the major-league level would be irresponsible. But what we care about is the power, and Baez has plenty of it, with 76 home runs in 319 career minor-league contests.
Some will point to Mike Trout's sluggish debut and avoid the hype completely, but everybody outside of the shallowest leagues should take a flier on Baez. You have permission to blow your FAAB. In NL-only leagues, that goes double. In keeper and dynasty formats, what are you waiting for? This will likely be a learning curve for Baez, but also -- fingers crossed from this Cubs fan -- the start of something special.
Expect excitement, loud noises, and, yes, plenty of #JavyBombs. First stop: Coors Field.