Yesterday the Chicago Cubs gave their fans a spark that could light a fire which could keep their fan base excited for the remainder of another lost season. The Cubs are promoting Javier Baez to the Majors, and he will be getting his first taste of big league ball in Colorado tonight as he faces the Rockies and Brett Anderson.
They say a good infusion of youth can energize a team, if that is so then the Cubs will be overflowing with energy. Now, I am not suggesting that adding Baez to the Cubs roster will do enough to get the team back into contention, but they will get a new jump to their step. Whether or not that adds to wins remains to be seen, but adding an energetic, youthful player never hurts.
Almost a month ago, Theo Epstein gave us all a cookie when he called up Arismendy Alcantara, and that supplied some energy for the Cubs and their fans. With Baez up, he has now given us an ice cream sundae. When Jorge Soler eventually gets the expected call this September, they will get the cherry on top. The excitement over the youth movement might give fans enough incentive to come out to Wrigley every day and once again fill the stands…at least temporarily.
With Baez joining the team, the Cubs will have four pieces of their eventual everyday lineup playing together in the Majors: Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Alcantara and Baez. You can even add in Welington Castillo, though his future with the Cubs as a starter may not be as secure as the others. You will finally be able to see how these players work together! I am looking forward to the first 6-4-3 double play tonight to watch how they perform as a cohesive unit. That will be the first of many to come not only this year, but for years to come.
While many Cub fans are over the moon with the Baez promotion based on nothing more than his minor league performance, take a step back. There is always an adjustment period for young players. Baez had to adjust his first month in Triple A Iowa, his first real struggle as a professional player. I have no doubts he will face some struggles as he begins the Major League portion of his career.
I am not saying he is going to be horrible, just preparing you that he may not be amazing right away. While he has a very loud and powerful swing, and I predict he will have at least one home run before the team leaves Colorado, he may not have that much success right away. Do not overreact and claim failure if he goes 0-12 this series, nor should you claim stud if he goes 8-12 with 3 homers. Just enjoy what you are seeing no matter what happens. Same goes for Soler when he gets his expected call later this season.
Now that Baez is up with the big league club, and on the 40 man roster, he is not going back to Iowa; he is here to stay. If Theo and company did not think that he was ready, he would not be here. Tom Ricketts, Epstein and Jed Hoyer do not care about money as much as fans think they do; if they did, Baez would not be here yet. All they care about is if he is ready or not.
The Cub fans will get enjoy their dessert for the remainder of the season, and while they still may not win a lot of games down the stretch, they will be fun to watch. They will not get their full meal as Kris Bryant likely will not get called up until late April 2015 at the earliest; though they might surprise us and call him up late September. He, like with Baez and Soler, will be called up when he is deemed ready to face Major League
Competition. While he is dominating Minor League pitching, he has yet to play a full season which is likely what they are waiting for before calling him up.
We have had a long, painful season, guys, but now we have something else to pay attention to. Watching the growth of these young up and comers before our eyes will be entertaining. Watching them learn to play ball at the Major League level might get us through to the end of the season with ease.
The future starts tonight.