Javier Baez was one of the premier high school bats in the 2011 draft. The consensus from the major prospect sites/scouts was that he had great bat speed but might have too much swing and miss. His body was/ is projected to grow, so he may outgrow SS which seems likely given the presence of Starlin Castro at Wrigley. The uncertainty on his contact potential led to a low ranking by many of the top sites. Keith Law had him ranked 95th on his preseason list, with most other sites not far off from that, taking a wait and see approach. As a prospector I saw him as a guy to target mainly due to his power potential. Watching his bat speed on his MLB.com Draft Preview, I saw where people were getting the Sheffield comparisons. As a prospector elite power upside from a big market position prospect…that at least had a chance to stay at SS was enough to take a small position. I was able to grab his refractors for mid $35-40 and Base for $18-20.
In hindsight I wish I had jumped in, but swing and miss is a scary proposition for a prospector. Swinging a lighting fast bat, means nothing without the ability to make contact (lesson learned via Chris Davis). Baez has done nothing but hit since he began as a pro. As of today he was hitting .333/.383/.596 with 12 hrs in 213 AB. His strikeout to walk ratio of 48/9 isn’t ideal but his 20 SB have been a pleasant surprise. The results have fueled a big jump up the prospects lists.(Law had him at 35 on his mid season update). Prices as of today are approximately $35 for Base and $65 for refractors. At those prices I plan to keep buying, but slowly as I watch him progress after his promotion to High A ball. Baez is young enough to improve his patience at the plate. If he does watch out, because all eyes in Chicago are focused on the kids of the future and Baez has the highest ceiling of them all.
P.S. My philosophy has shifted a bit, focusing on higher probability/higher ceiling prospects even if the initial buy in is higher. For me personally based on time constraints, I would rather focus on fewer guys and higher dollar cards. I do on occasion take a flier on a low cost guy, where there is no doubt the returns can be huge. (Nick Maronde comes to mind) For a great blog that touches on the low cost guys take a look at Prospects4Cash