Cubs farm report: Baez, Vogelbach flashing superstar potential
Baez, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, has been tearing the cover off the ball of late at class-A Peoria of the Midwest League, showing the enormous offensive potential that had him pegged as the best prep bat in the draft. Over his last nine games, he has gone 17-for-35 (.486) with two doubles, two triples, four home runs, seven RBI and five stolen bases. On the season, the 19-year-old is now hitting .331 over 40 games with eight home runs, 19 RBI, 16 stolen bases and a league-leading .980 OPS. This type of production is what the Cubs were hoping for when they selected him with the ninth-overall pick. After all, he hit a ridiculous .771 (64-for-83) his senior season with 20 doubles, six triples, 22 home runs, 52 RBI, 28 stolen bases and a slash line of .835/1.952/2.787. He also drew 32 walks to just three strikeouts.
Baez started the year at extended spring training, playing in 26 games and getting a chance to refine his overall game before they assigned him to a full-season league. Over those 26 games, he hit .330 with six doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 28 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He had a .725 slugging percentage and 1.076 OPS.
Vogelbach, the team’s second-round pick in the same draft, has been putting on a power clinic of his own at the Arizona League. Over his last four games, he has gone 8-for-17 (.471) with four doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI. For the season, the 6’-1”, 250-pound, 19-year-old is hitting .367 over 18 games with 11 doubles, six home runs and a whopping 26 RBI. He has drawn seven walks for a .414 OBP and is slugging .759. The left-hander has jaw-dropping power, as well as an advanced approach at the plate.
With the Cubs waiting for some expensive contracts to expire, and not taking on any other big contracts right now, they are still a couple of years away from being any kind of contender. They can afford to be patient with Baez and let him develop his overall game. As for Vogelbach, he is currently blocked at his position (first base) by Anthony Rizzo, who has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season and under contract for several years. He is still a couple of years away from the majors, however, and anything can happen by then. For now, both of these guys will continue to move through the system one stop at a time and give fans a glimpse of two budding superstars along the way.