Looking for a pick-me-up story now that the MLB Trade Deadline has past? The dog days of August just received a jolt of energy for the Chicago Cubs and their fans. The much anticipated call-up of highly touted prospect Javier Baez was announced today, and he will make his Major League debut Tuesday night, on the road, against the Colorado Rockies. The hype of when we will see Baez bash in the big leagues is over, and now the hype of "go time" in Chicago begins as this now signifies the start of the future on the North side.
Drafted in 2011, Baez has long been the Cubs' top MiLB prospect until Kris Bryant blasted into the organization. He is currently the fifth ranked prospect overall on the MLB.com top-100 list with Bryant just ahead of him at no. 3. Over the last few years, Baez has displayed tremendous power in the minor leagues, and has really represented the future of the Cubs' plans under the new ownership team. After struggling early on in the season, Baez has really heated up over the last two months. His big highlight was the opposite-field home run he hit in this year's Futures Game over All-Star weekend in Minnesota. The only downside of this call-up, is that this move will really start to break apart one of the best young rosters in baseball with the Cubs' AAA Iowa lineup.
Once the trade deadline past, the big question in Chicago was when the top prospects would begin to be introduced to the Wrigley faithful. The early success that fellow MiLB prospect Arismendy Alcantara has had allowed the Cubs' front office to move Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio within the last few weeks. On the mound, Kyle Hendricks has also found a groove as another piece to Chicago's future landscape. Baez will only add to the growing wave of change in Chicago in a big-time way.
One question will be where will Baez play now that he is up with the big-league club. Starlin Castro recently rallied for Baez' call-up, and the longest tenured Cub got his wish granted. With Baez, Castro, Alcantara, and Luis Valbuena, expect to see a constant infield shuffling of guys to find what may work best going forward for Rick Renteria's bunch.
What will be anticipated is seeing Baez' approach and success at the plate. Will his light-tower power transition quickly to the Majors? Somewhat fittingly, Baez' debut will be at Coors Field, and if he is able to connect with a ball, he just might be able to hit it out of Denver entirely. When speaking with a coach who saw Baez play during his younger years, Baez hit one of the hardest and longest balls that he has ever seen with no exaggeration. It is those types of accolades that makes this call-up stand out from any other, and allows fans to really get excited for the possibilities of what could be in store.
The addition of Baez is not intended to be the savior for this season. Unless the Cubs were able to pull off some type of Oakland A's 20-game win streak magic, the playoffs are out of reach in 2014 for Chicago. If he struggles or if he succeeds, this is simply the start of the future for the Cubs. The move just means that the front office must think that Baez is Major League ready, and it is now time to put the talk aside and the plan into motion. This is an exciting day for the Cubs' fan base. It is the dawn of a fresh start in the city of Chicago.
In Chicago, the future just may be now for the Cubs. With the call-up of Baez, it will now only be a matter of time until others like Bryant, follow him to the Friendly Confines. This now makes the Cubs an intriguing team to watch over these final two months.