SAN FRANCISCO -- Javier Baez is getting better, which is good news for Cubs fans who are eager to see the top-rated prospect.
Baez, 21, is batting .211 overall at Triple-A Iowa, but he's hitting .375 in his last 10 games, with four of his seven total home runs in that stretch. On Monday, he was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. But what impresses Tim Cossins, the Cubs' Minor League field coordinator, is Baez's defense.
"Over the year I've seen him, his defense has been, in my opinion, the most overlooked part of his game," Cossins said Monday. "You'll see some error totals, but the improvement on the whole has been amazing. I'm pretty sure it'll continue. He looks confident and he's moving good and throwing the ball great and taking control in the middle of the field -- those are things everybody looks for. That's been exciting."
Baez's offense has been the focus, but Cossins sees improvement there, too. He was with the Triple-A Iowa team for the last five days, including Saturday, when the shortstop hit a grand slam.
"It's trending the right way," Cossins said of Baez's hitting. "His at-bats have been better. I've seen him in both phases -- I saw him the other day and saw the slow start earlier. He just looks like he's trusting himself a little bit more and getting pitches to hit and not missing them and laying off the stuff they're trying to get him to swing at. It's just like any other baseball player -- guys get going good and they lock it in. When he's locked in, it's different than when most people are locked in."
And what about the slam? Cossins smiled.
"Unbelievable," he said. "It's always fun to watch stuff like that. He's doing a great job. His approach to the game is good and his pregame work is really focused. I guess the best way to say it is he's maturing on all levels, and that's what everybody hopes to see."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.