- Javier is very athletic and muscular.
- Baez grew up in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He idolized Alex Rodriguez.
- In 2005, his family moved to the U.S. because his sister, who is one year younger, has special needs, and they wanted better medical treatment. "I wanted to stay in Puerto Rico," Baez said. "I knew it would be different over here. But baseball is the same."
Javier's sister Noely Baez has spina bifida, the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.
- During his high school years, he lived with his high school coach, who is also his legal guardian, though his mother is still in the picture. In 2011, Baez hit .771 (64-for-83) with 22 home runs and stole 28 bases as a high school senior at Arlington Day School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Baez has an explosive demeanor. He plays with energy, but it's not always positive, and he turns off some scouts with emotional outbursts and an off-field demeanor some describe as aloof.
His makeup is questionable. The Cubs saw a ton of talent and some raised questions about his makeup. He plays with a lot of flair and swagger but convinced the Cubs that he takes the game seriously and will be a solid teammate.
So, the Cubs chose Baez as their first round selection in the 2011 draft, the 9th overall choice.
"He's a very quiet young man off the field, and very fiery on the field,'' Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken said. "He's more of an astute type young man. He's confident but it's a silent confidence. He's got very good makeup off the field.''
- Baez is overly and emotional at times, he'll need time to mature on and off the field. (Spring 2012)
- Manager named Javier as 2012's most exciting player in the Midwest League, where he also rated as the No. 1 prospect, and one scout said watching Baez take batting practice was the highlight of his summer.
- In the spring of 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Baez as the second best prospect in Cubs' organization, behind only CF Brett Jackson. Then, in the springs of both 2013 and 2014, they had Javier as the #1 prospect in the Cub farm system.
- In 2013, Baez was named the Cubs organization's Minor League Player of the Year after he led the entire Minor Leagues in extra-base hits (75) and RBIs (111).
- How certain is Baez that he'll reach the big leagues? The first tattoo he got was the MLB logo on the back of his neck. His two brothers, Rolando and Gadiel, have the same tattoo.
April 2014: After being ejected from a game for losing his temper against a Pacific Coast League umpire, it escalated into a dugout altercation with veteran teammate Eli Whiteside.
And whether it had more to do with a 21-year-old’s 0-for-9 frustrations to start the season, it might have offered a brief glimpse into the kind of pressure the Cubs’ top prospects face during a long rebuilding process .
“It’s all part of development,” president Theo Epstein said. “Players are in the minor leagues to develop physically and fundamentally, and also mentally and emotionally.
"It's an instance that could wind up being a great thing in the long run for Javy’s development,” Epstein said. “It was not a huge deal but something he can grow from . . . and he will.”
- August 5, 2014: Playing his first Major League game, Baez launched the first pitch he saw from Boone Logan leading off the 12th inning into the bullpen for his first big league homer. The Cubs won 6-5 over the Rockies. He became the first player to hit a go ahead homer in extra innings in their Major League debut.
- September 26, 2014: "It's gone very much as expected," Cubs president Theo Epstein said of Baez's first two months in the big leagues.
Since his promotion to the big Leagues, he has had a tough time at the plate. The good news for the Cubs is that Baez hasn't carried those struggles onto the field.
"He's played incredible shortstop," Epstein said. "Beyond the tools that he has and the plays that he's made, he's shown a great baseball head on his shoulders and really good instincts, really good focus. He's won the respect of a lot of veterans here with the way he plays the game on the field. That's big, and not to be taken for granted from a 21-year-old.
"Offensively, it's gone as expected," Epstein said. "Javy's extraordinarily talented but very raw offensively. He hasn't quite learned a consistent approach and swings at the pitches he wants to swing at, and he's letting the pitcher dictate the course of the at-bat by not being selective enough. When you do that in the big leagues, it can get ugly in a hurry." (Carrie Muskat - MLB.com - 9/27/2014)
- Baez not only has impressive bat speed, but can play solid defense, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The thing nobody talks about is this guy is a really good baseball player," Maddon said. "His defense is spectacular, baserunning is outstanding. His acumen on the field is well beyond his years. The thing that's lagging is the adjustment at the plate. Of course, he needs to get better, of course he needs to make adjustments.
"I do know I like him as a baseball player, and he could be a very good Major League Baseball player once he figures out the command of his swing."
"He has things he has to learn how to do yet," Maddon said of Baez. "He shows signs of brilliance at times. To this point in the spring of 2015, he's had a lot of good at-bats and hit some balls hard. Then he'll show the out-of-control swing that bothers him a little bit, and I think it bothers the fans more than it bothers me.
"It's a young guy trying to figure this all out. [He has] sterling bat speed, incredible bat speed. He just needs plate appearances." Baez not only has impressive bat speed, but can play solid defense, Maddon said. (Muskat - mlb.com - 3/19/15)
Javier's sister, Noely, passed away on April 8, 2015, and he took an indefinite leave of absence from the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa team. Noely was 21.
Noely was born with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect which happens when the spinal column does not close all the way. The Baez family had moved from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Fla., so Noely could get better care. Javier was involved in a fundraiser for spina bifida in Jacksonville to raise awareness.
"We don't see her as someone who is different from us," Baez said in an interview in December 2013. "She's a miracle for us. She's a miracle in our lives." (Muskat - mlb.com - 4/9/15)
December 2016: Baez committed to play for Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Feb 24, 2017: Javier Baez will never forget his first World Series championship, and he has a new tattoo on his left shoulder to commemorate it. The tattoo features the trophy, the year, the Major League Baseball logo, and "World Series Champions" plus part of the Cubs' logo. It's just the start of what Baez has planned for his left arm.
"When my whole arm is finished, it's going to make more sense," he said. "It looks really nice but it's there, alone. I've got another thing [planned] for my arm."
The tattoos to come will feature his family, Baez said.He has the image of his late sister, Noely, on his right shoulder, and that arm is completely covered. What if the Cubs win another championship?
"I still have my legs and my back," he said.
Baez also had some new wheels at spring camp, although he didn't drive the vehicle Friday because of the chilly morning. He was renting a white Polaris Slingshot, which is a three-wheel motorcycle with car-like seating.
"They told me that while I'm here [in Arizona], I can use it," Baez said. "It's a fun little car, and I'm just having fun."
However, he drove his barber's car Friday and gave the Slingshot to his barber because Baez said he knew it would be cold Friday morning. The car doesn't have a top or a heater. (C Muskat - MLB.com - Feb 25, 2017)
- June 2011: The Cubs chose Baez in the first round, out of Arlington Country School in Jacksonville, Florida. He signed on August 15, the deadline, for a bonus of $2.6 million, via scout Tom Clark.
- March 4, 2016: The Cubs and Baez agreed to a one-year deal for $521,000.