Analysis by Broc Miller
No doubt, you’ve heard the name. After hitting 37 home runs in the lower minors in 2013, there’s tons of power in Javier Baez’s bat. No doubt. Of those 37 dingers, 27 came off right-handed pitchers, but his OPS against LHP was an astronomical 1.120. We’re still dealing with a bit of a sample size issue here, in the beginning of MLB’s fifth month of 2014, but he’s actually been better against same-handed pitching thus far. For the immediate future, one may notice a 30% strikeout rate and a walk rate below 8% in AAA. That doesn’t seem to indicate immediate success at the big league level, but those rates are pretty much in line with what George Springer was doing in the minors. His success this year is well documented, so overall I think Baez is worth a flier, at least, right now.
With the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, shortstop is wide open in Cleveland and top prospect Francisco Lindor may soon get the call to take over. Lindor is still young, just 20, and although his prospect status is tied more to his glove, he’s increased his ISO each season in the minors and he’s already stolen 27 bases this year. In deeper leagues he’ll be worth a look because his only value this season will come in the form of stolen bases, and those are tied to two things: playing time and on base percentage. Upon promotion, the first is basically guaranteed, and he’s got gotten on base at a .359 clip in his minor league career.
Another position opened up at this season’s trade deadline is the hot corner in Phoenix. What a coincidence, 20121 6th round draft pick Jake Lamb has tortured the minors this season and could get an aggressive promotion before September. After putting up a .949 OPS in double A, he’s 8 for 16 with a homer in triple A. Lamb, a lefty-hitting 3rd baseman, has taken huge strides against same-handed pitching with a 1.001 OPS. He’s demolished RHP with a 1.015 OPS and a .959 OPS in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Considering the ballpark he’ll eventually call home and his strong numbers against all kind of pitching, Lamb is a youngster you’ll want to consider very soon.