MESA, Ariz. -- Highly touted prospect Javier Baez will be taking part in his first Major League Spring Training camp, but that doesn't mean the Cubs are reserving a locker for him at Wrigley Field this season.
"When a young guy's name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he's close to the big leagues," said Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations. "In this case, Javy's not. He's got significant development still ahead of him. We're really impressed by everything he's done, but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. ... He finished the year in high-A ball, and that's about where he's going to start."
Baez, 20, batted .333 with a .979 OPS, 10 doubles, 12 homers and 33 RBIs at Class A Peoria, and then batted .188 in 23 games at Class A Daytona. He also took part in the Arizona Fall League until a freak thumb injury ended his season.
For now, Baez, the Cubs' first-round Draft pick in 2011, will stay at shortstop, although fans may see him play some second base in Cactus League games just to get him at-bats.
"He's a shortstop, and he's going to play shortstop," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. "If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it'll be because of flat numbers. It's not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else -- that'll be a development question down the road."
The invite to the Cubs' big league camp was made to give Baez some insight into what it's about.
"It's nice for the fans to be able to see him, it's nice for us to be able to see him, but this is not about making the Major League team, this is about experience," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said.
Baez is one of the Cubs' potential impact players in the system. They're also going to be patient with highly touted outfielder Jorge Soler, who played at Class A Peoria. Epstein said their plan is to have players spend at least one year at Triple-A before they are promoted to the big leagues.