DENVER - The Chicago Cubs today selected the contract of infielder Javier Baez. Right-handed pitcher Blake Parker was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Baez, who will wear uniform number nine, will be available for the Cubs tonight when they begin a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.
Baez, 21, was Chicago's first round pick in the 2011 Draft (ninth overall) and entered 2014 ranked as the club's number one prospect by Baseball America after being named the organization's player of the year in 2013 when he hit 37 home runs with 111 RBI in 130 games with Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. Baez, who was ranked the number seven prospect in baseball at mid-season by Baseball America, has spent all of 2014 in Triple-A, his first experience at that level, and started for the World Team at the Futures Game last month, where he connected for a two-run home run.
With Iowa this season, Baez has batted .260 (101-for-388) with 24 doubles, two triples, 23 home runs and 80 RBI in 104 games. He has a .323 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage, good for an .833 OPS, and has also stolen 16 bases. Baez's batting average, slugging percentage and OPS have steadily climbed with each passing month this season, culminating with a .342 batting average (26-for-76), a .395 on-base percentage, a .763 slugging percentage and a 1.158 OPS in 20 games since the All-Star Break, a period during which he has hit nine home runs and recorded 25 RBI.
Baez was drafted by the Cubs out of Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Fla. The Puerto Rico native played in the Arizona Fall League at the age of 19 in 2012 and then entered 2013 as Chicago's top prospect, hitting .282 (146-for-517) with 34 doubles and four triples to go along with the 37 home runs and 111 RBI in 130 games with Daytona and Tennessee. The right-handed batter and thrower's 2013 campaign included a four-homer game on June 10 vs. Fort Myers, just the second-such game in the 94-year history of the Florida State League.
Overall, the 6-foot, 190-pound Baez has hit .278 (338-for-1,216) with 73 doubles, 12 triples, 76 home runs, 238 RBI and 62 stolen bases in 319 minor league games covering the last four seasons.
Parker, 29, is 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA (9 ER/12.1 IP) in nine games covering five stints with the Cubs this year.