6-0, 160 lbs
2016 salary: minor league contract
Team control: 4 years MiLB service / 6 years MLB service
Acquired: signed as minor league free agent (12/2014)
Combined WAR: (no MLB debut)
The Outfield Fly Ruling
There was some minor excitement over Baez prior to the 2016 season among Braves prospect-watchers, but it’s mostly just dreaming on the raw talents of a guy with a high top speed and a powerful swing. Unfortunately, outside of rookie ball, he just hasn’t been able to turn that powerful swing into anything productive. Even the speed advantage is negated by poor baserunning instincts or decisions and bad routes of pursuit in the outfield. There’s still a bundle of talent here, and he’ll be 20 at the beginning of the 2017 season, so perhaps he’s just a late bloomer, but for now, it’s hard to project him as anything more than an organizational player. (- B. Blackwell, ’16-’17 offseason)
The OFR Scouting Report
Hit – 20
Baez has the raw upside, but the hit tool just isn’t manifesting at the A-ball level. In over 300 plate appearances across both 2015 and 2016, he’s been pretty terrible there. He’s still fairly young, so it’s still possible for him to figure things out at the plate. However, there aren’t any signs to make us think he will.
Power – 40
One thing that limits Baez’s hit tool is his all or nothing swing, but it does generate some power, in theory. In practice, it’s a little less powerful, and Baez is unlikely to ever be a home run threat. That said, he’s got a little bit of pop.
Baserunning – 50
I struggled with this grade. By most accounts, Baez has blazing speed – probably somewhere around 65 on the scale. On the other, some scouts suggest that while he’s fast, he’s not necessarily quick. More top speed than acceleration, if that makes sense. This might explain his pretty dismal minor league track record of stealing bases – he’s 10 for 18 in a little less than a full season of plate appearances. So, there’s speed there, and he’ll score from first on balls in the gap (where he’ll have time to reach that top speed), but the stats may resemble those of a slower player due to his ramp-up time.
Defense – 35 ↑↑
By most accounts, he’s still pretty raw in the outfield, so routes and angles are sub-optimal for now, but the top speed discussed above should allow him to be a functional defender down the road. The routes and angles should come with more experience. I haven’t seen or heard anything about the arm, which may explain why Baez has resided in LF while with the Braves. Still, range is by far the most important aspect of outfield defense, and Baez should have useful range well into his professional career.
20-80 scale, where 20 will prevent you from reaching the bigs, 30 is terrible, 40 is below average, 50 is MLB average, 60 is plus, 70 is plus-plus, and 80 is HOF-level. The OFR Scouting Report is based mostly on statistical forecasting models such as ZiPs, PECOTA, etc. Arrows indicate projected room for growth or decline, with each representing a 5 point movement on the 20-80 scale.
Walk Off Walk