Michel Baez, RHP, Single-A Fort Wayne
I’ve been trying to work Baez into the lyrics of Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John“ for the better part of a month, but two things: 1) I’m not Geoff Young and 2) it’s not easy to compare the story of a pitcher from Cuba to that of a coal miner from Louisiana.
Point is, Baez is big—he stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 225—and he’s bad, and you get the sense that his sole purpose on the mound is to find new ways to embarrass Midwest League hitters. Heading into his sixth start of the year on Monday, Baez had already transformed himself from unheralded international signing to bonafide prospect. Over his first four starts in the Midwest League he pitched 23 innings while allowing just two runs, with 33 strikeouts, three walks, and 17 spoken words to teammates.
On Monday, Baez upped the ante by striking out 14 and walking none in a 6 2/3 innings masterpiece against the Dayton Dragons, a team that demoted itself to the Pioneer League five minutes after the game ended to avoid a potential rematch. Somewhere, a wise prospect sage is hollering TINSTAAPP, warning us never to get too excited about a pitching prospect with six professional starts. I’ll wait until Baez gives up three runs in an outing before tempering my expectations.
/Big bad Baez. (Sac Bunt Dustin)