The Florida State League is known to be tough on hitters. Typically, when the Ft. Myers Miracle are involved in a game, any news about an elite offensive performance is coming from their club. On Monday night in Daytona, however, it was Cubs shortstop Javier Baez that made headlines, and history.
Baez lead Daytona to a 9-6 win over Ft. Myers and personally drove in seven of those runs. Baez was perfect at the plate, going four-for-four with four home runs. In doing so, he became just the second player in the 94-year history of the FSL to go deep four times in one game.
The Cubs used the ninth overall pick of the 2011 first-year player draft to select Baez out of a Jacksonville (Fla) high school. Baez turned heads in the Low-A Midwest League in 2012, but was off to an unimpressive start at Daytona through the season’s first two months in 2013. As the calendar turned to June, however, Baez’s bat has caught fire.
Through the first 50 games of the season, Baez had posted a .264/.308/.483 line with eight home runs. In the eight games since, Baez has gone 15-for-30 and swatted five home runs. In addition to his perfect night on Monday, Baez has also recorded a five-for-six game this month. His recent exploits at the dish have added over 100 points to his OPS this year.
Baez rarely walks and he strikeouts a lot, but that’s not out of the ordinary for a young hitter, especially one with elite talent at the plate. As he matures and refines his approach a bit more, he’ll become just that much more dangerous at the dish. The parent club has Starlin Castro locked up through 2020 at shortstop, so Baez may eventually have to move off the position in order to reach the big leagues. A shift to third base is likely as Baez progresses but, as he showed on Monday, his bat profiles well at any position.