It was on this day in 2014 that Javier Baez made his MLB debut, hitting a solo home run in the 12th inning that held up as the winning run in a Cubs victory over the Rockies. Baez celebrated his anniversary as a big leaguer with another solo homer today as part of a 2-for-5 performance against the Padres, though Chicago wasn’t as successful, dropping a 10-6 result to San Diego. Baez is now hitting .300/.333/.585 with 24 homers in 433 PA this season, with this breakout offensive performance combining with his usual excellent defense to make him one of the game’s most overall valuable talents.
Some more from Wrigleyville…
- Kris Bryant has yet to swing a bat since returning to the DL to deal with his bothersome shoulder, and the Cubs slugger tells reporters (including the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan) that he doesn’t yet know when he might be back on the field. Bryant was eligible to return on August 3, though he was expected to remain beyond the 10-day minimum DL stint to fully allow his shoulder to heal up. He reiterated, however, that he doesn’t have long-term concerns about the injury. The former NL MVP is enjoying another strong season (.276/.380/.474 with 11 homers in 358 PA), though his shoulder troubles could explain why his production has dipped a bit from his 2016-17 levels.
- Dylan Cease was a top-1oo ranked minor leaguer when he was traded as part of the four-prospect package sent by the Cubs to the White Sox for Jose Quintana in July 17. As The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney writes in a subscription-only piece, however, the Cubs were ultimately willing to deal Cease due to a significant injury history (Tommy John surgery in 2014) and because he was still pitching in A-ball. Cease has since made his Double-A debut in the White Sox system and looked outstanding, with a 1.99 ERA, 12.8 K/9, and 4.48 K/BB rate over 40 2/3 IP that has only elevated his status as a future building block for the Sox. Mooney tracks the Cubs’ initial pursuit of Cease through an interview with scout Keith Lockhart, who originally signed the young righty, and is well aware of the risk involved in moving such blue chip prospects. “When it first came down, it was easy to say, ’Listen, we got an established big-league starter for some guys that were in A-ball,’ ” Lockhart said. “As the years go on, if Dylan turns out to be a No. 1 starter for the White Sox and leading a rotation, then the story just stays alive.”
- In other recent Cubs news on MLBTR, Yu Darvish updated the media with his rehab status.