Cubs prospect shortstop Javier Baez did something with High-A Daytona tonight which has only happened 16 times in a major league game: He slugged four home runs.
Baez connected for a two-run homer in the first inning, a solo shot in the third, a three-run blast in the fifth and another solo homer in his final at-bat in the seventh. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com notes that Baez is the second player in Florida State League history to hit four home runs in one game. Former Cubs prospect Ryan Harvey (2006) is the other. Of course, he never made it to the major leagues.
Baez, a first-round pick of the Cubs in 2011, was ranked as the No. 13 prospect by Baseball America this spring. The 20-year-old shortstop has tons of offensive potential, but his plate discipline needs work and he’s still a little rough around the edges defensively. He committed his 26th error of the season tonight.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.