Javier Baez Apparently Can Do Whatever He Wants in the AFL, Too

Five Cubs saw game action in tonight's AFL Opening Night at Salt River Fields between the Mesa Solar Sox and the Salt River Rafters:  



MATT SZCZUR: Played CF and hit lead-off, grounded out 6-3 leading off the game, then laid-down a 5-3 sac bunt in the 3rd, walked his next two times up, and popped up to the first-baseman in his final PA. He saw 19 pitches in his five ABs.


JAVIER BAEZ: Got the start at SS and batted 7th in the Solar Sox order, absolutely crushing a 450+ ft HR over the CF Batter's Eye on a 1-1 pitch (94 MPH fastball) off Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood in his first AFL AB, and then lining a two-run double (with a lot of top-spin) into the LF corner in the top of the 6th. Baez also struck out (swinging) twice, the first time on an 0-2 pitch (slider away in the dirt) and the second time on a 1-2 pitch (also in the dirt, after taking two strikes). Baez also advanced to 3rd base after his two-run double when the Rafters catcher tried to pick him off 2nd base, and Baez alertly just kept running to 3rd (was scored as a WP). BTW, at age 19 Baez is the second-youngest player in the AFL. (The youngest player is Rangers SS Luis Saldina, who is also 19, but is 5-1/2 months younger than Baez). FWIW, Starlin Castro was also 19 when he played in the AFL in 2009. 


RUBI SILVA: Pinch-hit for DH Aaron Westlake leading off the 8th and lined an opposite-field single just to the right of the diving SS, eventually coming around to score the go-ahead run.


KEVIN RHODERICK: Relieved starter Jarred Cosart in the bottom of the 4th (Cosart retired the first ten batters he faced), working 1.2 IP (23 pitches - 18 strikes) and allowing no runs on one hit (a hustle double where the batter looked to be out at 2nd base) and no walks with three strikeouts. Rhoderick has had major control issues throughout his career, but he was firing strikes tonight.  


TONY ZYCH: Was called into the game with two outs in the bottom of the 8th after the Rafters had taken a 6-5 lead off Orioles LHRP Mike Belfiore, and he struck out the one batter he faced (Blue Jays OF Jake Marisnick) on three pitches (the last one a 97 MPH heater).


A number of Cubs execs (including Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod) were at the game, as were about a half-dozen Instructs Cubs (most of whom were teammates of Javier Baez just six months ago in Extended Spring Training).      

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  • haha

    crunch 7 min 27 sec ago view
  • Wow -- Chapman gives up a hit and everything completely caves in. I think the Cubs went into collective shock.

    Stolen base with the pitcher holding the ball, WP that should have been caught or blocked, then Russell with a 2-out error on a routine play. Cubs handed them 2 runs. Throw in a Fowler bobble and it was a mess.

    Hopefully, that is all out of their system now -- let's get a W tomorrow.

    billybucks 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • First time I've ever seen a base running slump -- he's made some poor decisions recently, but I thought it was a great idea to try to score there -- it's not like Heyward was going to get a 2-out hit against a LHP. Sliding feet-first into home is probably the safe (ugh) way to go, but it's hard to get the foot on the plate.

    billybucks 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Yup. He got squeezed (twice) on the first walk, but, when you have one-run lead and the other team is trying to make an out -- take the out.

    billybucks 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Wasn't fun!

    Brick 1 hour 37 min ago view
  • Clearly the Cubs need to clear out the farm and trade for another closer

    Where's Ed Lynch when you need him?

    Eric S 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • Those were more entertaining times.

    Charlie 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • I wonder if there's an actual cause to this because they were going up hacking at everything. Wonder if scoring a bunch of runs makes you feel like you.can swing at anything and hit it.

    johann 1 hour 52 min ago view
  • That second walk he gave Up was awful though with no pitches even close to being a strike. He was trying to pitch around bunt and that almost never works. That said Rondon should have been brought in after the first walk and should have been left in to finish the inning because he was looking like he had good stuff.

    johann 2 hours 7 min ago view
  • Remember when Bryant used to be able to run the bases with impunity?

    CTSteve 2 hours 9 min ago view
  • And Miggy costs them another run

    Eric S 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • torres would easily be the system's #1 prospect. he's a middle IF'r that's showing he can stick there even as he's gaining bulk/muscle so far. that said, it's not like the distance between torres and jimenez is huge...it's torres's position value that would vault him in prospect status.

    jimenez has the higher ceiling just isolating the bat aspect of his game.

    it would suck to lose either, but torres is a very popular/valuable piece.

    crunch 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Arrieta in line to lose the game too

    Cruel game

    Eric S 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • ...and chapman fails us. gives up the lead. boo.

    crunch 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • bringing in rondon to try to put out this fire is a nice luxury.

    crunch 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • Complete craziness bottom seven. Bottom line Cubs were fortunate to score a run

    And of course Arrieta walks the first two batters in the eighth (to be fair he was totally squeezed on Zunino's walk to start the inning)

    Eric S 2 hours 29 min ago view