Javier Baez Emerging As Chicago Cubs Top Prospect, According To Select Scouts

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18: Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs (L), talks with manager Dale Sveum #33 during batting practice before a game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As the Cubs move their top prospects up the organization, shortstop Javier Baez is another player to keep an eye on.

The Chicago Cubs have already begun the process of bringing up those top prospects they feel are ready for the majors in this lost season of 2012. The kids are getting a chance to play, and it seems more youngsters are making waves in the minors, giving the Cubs hope for a strong core of homegrown players in the future.

One potential impact player is infielder Javier Baez, a 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico who played high-school baseball in Florida and recently was promoted to high-A Daytona from low-A Peoria (Ill.). Baez is still getting acclimated to the higher level -- he's been in Daytona since Aug. 4 -- but was very impressive in the Midwest League, where he had 71 hits in 57 games and batted .333.

That has him on GM Theo Epstein's radar.

Baez was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft. Cubs fans can imagine an infield with he and Starlin Castro and dream big, as this story from ESPN Chicago notes.

Baez has "top-shelf bat speed," according to one National League scout who recently saw him play. "I haven't seen that type of bat speed this year outside of the big leagues. It's pure, unadulterated, just violent bat-speed."

Stay with this StoryStream for more trade rumors involving the Cubs, and be sure to head over to Bleed Cubbie Blue for more Cubs news. Also visit Baseball Nation for more MLB coverage from around the league.

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