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May 19, 2014

Monday Morning Ten Pack

May 19, 2014

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff


The Monday Morning Ten Pack is brought to you by Sidsgraphs.com. SidsGraphs specializes in memorabilia and game-used items from baseball's top prospects! Visit Sidsgraphs.com today or visit their retail store in the south suburbs of Chicago.

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Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)
After a dominating run across two levels in 2013, Baez was a darling of the offseason prospect hype machine, and when he arrived in camp this spring and continued the onslaught I agreed to name all offspring I might create in the future after him. But 2014 hasn’t gone as planned for the 21-year-old, and we are nearing the point in the season where the sample size is significant enough to validate the concerns about his offensive struggles. As previously documented, Baez is an extremely reactionary, see-ball/hit-ball hitter, the type who looks to attack and drive fastballs out of the park and struggles to make adjustments to off-speed offerings. These approach tendencies have been magnified this year by a larger dose of quality secondary stuff, and when Baez takes the bait and loses the count, his OPS is 500 points lower than it is when he can work himself into more friendly fastball situations.

Another twist in this developmental tale is Baez’s extreme day/night splits, as the high-ceiling slugger has a sub-.200 slugging percentage under the artificial lights, with a batting average that has now dropped below the .100 mark. If vision is the culprit, and Baez is struggling to locate and diagnose the ball early out of the pitcher’s hand, this could present a terminal developmental outcome when paired with existing approach concerns. It’s still early in the season, and the realities of the vision issues are still more speculative than anything else, but we are nearing the point where concerns can solidify and realistic outcomes can start to be questioned. I’m still blinded by his bat speed and therefore optimistic that his future will be abnormal and franchise altering. But the neurological aspects of his struggles are trying to pull me off the Baez bus with each passing day. –Jason Parks

Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Double-A Tulsa)
On nights when I feel lonely and down, I dim the lights, make a delicious cocktail, and watch Eddie Butler’s performance from the 2013 Futures Game in order to return a smile to my face. It was the nastiest of the nasty, and his stock soared as a result, placing him just outside the top 25 prospects in the minor leagues heading into the 2014 season. With only six Double-A starts on his professional resume, the 23-year-old righty returned to Tulsa to start the year, and despite some statistical setbacks as a result of specific developmental focuses his stock remains on the same vaulted plane. With his deadly cutter in his back pocket, Butler has been focusing on pounding the lower zone with both his two-seam and four-seam fastballs and introducing a new curveball into the mix. The former are necessities in the unfriendly confines of his future home park, while the latter only goes to deepen the arsenal and provide a change-of-pace pitch to his often velocity-heavy arsenal.

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<< Previous Article
Overthinking It: The W... (05/19)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/27)
Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (05/20)

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