Acquired: Drafted 2021 (second round), Dexter Southfield HS (Brookline, Mass.)
In 2021: .158/.305/.303, .608 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 2B (Rookie)
Scouting Report: After taking a round of batting practice at Busch Stadium this past year, Baez sat in the Cardinals’ dugout and began making plans for his return. “I would love to be here within two to three years,” he said. The Cardinals would welcome that expedited timetable, too, but their bet – their big bet – is that one of the youngest players available in the recent draft also has one of the highest upsides, even if it takes some patience to materialize. Baez’s size, strength, and spring-loaded swing impressed scouts during showcase season. Baseball America says he already has the best outfield arm in the organization and that he threw 98 mph off the mound. Baez learned baseball while living in the Dominican Republic, but attended high school in Boston, at times overwhelming opponents. The Cardinals wooed Baez from a commitment to baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt by going well above slot for the 54th overall pick. After agreeing to a $2.25-million bonus and taking BP at Busch, Baez showed his power promise in workouts and drills down in Jupiter, Fla. In games, he struck out 28 times in 76 at-bats for the Florida Complex club. Whether Baez rises in the rankings to be the top prospect in the organization (that’s possible) or struggles to connect potential to production will be a test of the Cardinals’ player development. Can they bring out the talent so that whenever Baez arrives he makes an impact?
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