BLUF: Potential number three hitter with power and average from the hot corner.
The Player: Jaiver Baez (SS, Chicago Cubs) – Ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft. Made a notional pro debut of only five games after signing last year. Debuted with Low-A Peoria after some additional time in extended spring training and has hit .319/.385/.560 in 39 games despite being just 19-years old. Has four doubles, three triples and eight home runs as well as 16 stolen bases.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-1, 205): Average body that projects to get thicker as he matures. Good natural strength and some bulk in his frame with room for more. Not a plus athlete but moves well and is well-coordinated.
Hit: Ridiculous bat speed. Scouts invoke Gary Sheffield comps on bat speed alone. Rips bat through the zone. Strong arms, wrists and hands help control bat while in zone. Very good contact ability. Can adjust to pitches in all part of the zone. Very aggressive approach and must learn to be more selective against better pitching. Can use the whole field with ease. Occasional scouts see a future elite hitter. More scouts see legit plus-plus bat. Grade – 40/70
Power: Again, ridiculous bat speed! Whips the bat through the zone with ease. Has natural strength to drive ball to the deepest parts of the park. Has over the fence power. Should add more loft and learn to put backspin on the ball with experience. Improved approach should allow more consistent loud contact and result in more in-game power. Potential plus-plus power as well as hitting ability. Grade (raw power) – 50/70
Arm: Consistently average arm strength and will flash plus when footwork and arm are in sync. Can get under the ball a bit on occasion, causing throws to sail and some loss of velocity. With more consistency, should give third plus tool. Grade – 50/60
Fielding: Hard to find a scout that believes in ability to stick at SS. Solid athlete. Lacks range at the position. Hands are solid, but unspectacular. Fringy instincts and not the quickest mover. Overall a well below-average defender at SS now and doesn’t project better than average. Could profile at third base with plus arm and decent reactions. Likely move is to 3B, where he could be average. Grade – 30/50 (third base)
Speed: Turns in occasional average times to first. Generally a below-average to fringe-average runner. Likely below-average at physical peak. Aggressive on the bases and shows good instincts. Willing to take extra base and challenge catchers with steal attempts. Will need to learn to pick spots against more experienced competition. Grade – 40/40
Summation: Incredibly talented hitter. Potential plus-plus bat in every respect. Could hit 25-30 home runs with .290+ batting average. Approach will determine if he reaches ceiling. Ultra-aggressive right now and must be more selective at higher levels. Shows feel for hitting and should be able to adjust to let natural ability play. Not a shortstop long term. Has tools and arm to play at third base with average overall ability. Aggressive in every phase of the game. Some belief that he must mature mentally and learn some humility on the field. Everything should work out with age/time. Potential number three hitter in a championship lineup; offensive star.
Relative Risk: High. Still a teenager with an extremely aggressive approach and a lot of maturing to do.
Future: Likely to spend the remainder of the 2012 season in Low-A as a teenager. Bat may be able to handle short stop in High-A before reaching Double-A late in the 2013 season. May require some time to adjust at the upper levels and should have a 2015 ETA in Chicago.