MILWAUKEE — Shortstop Javy Baez, the Cubs minor league player of the year, received permission to skip playing in the Arizona Fall League after his 37-homer, 111-RBI season in the longest baseball season he’s ever played.
“He says he’s emotionally and physically drained after the season, and we have no problem with that,” said general manager Jed Hoyer. “We agree the right thing to do is let him work out in Arizona and take some time off.”
The primary developmental loss for the Cubs involved their plan to have him play other positions around the infield to build versatility and better prepare him defensively for a possible major-league debut sometime in 2014.
Baez, 20, played 130 games between advanced-A Daytona and AA Tennessee in 2013 – plus AA playoffs — two years after the Cubs made him the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.
He hit .282 with a .920 OPS overall, with better numbers in 54 games at AA (.294, 20 homers) than in 76 at Daytona (.274, 17).
The Cubs can replace Baez on Mesa’s AFL roster but have not announced a decision yet.
International free agent outfielder Jorge Soler and the Cubs’ last two first-round picks – outfielder Albert Almora and third baseman Kris Bryant – already are on the fall roster.