Joshua Baez is a Dominican-born prospect who spent his senior year of high school roaming the outfield and pitching for Dexter Southfield in Brookline, MA. Although he has hit as high as 97 on the radar gun, the 6’3″ 220-pound Baez projects as an outfielder, not a pitcher. Baez sees himself as a centerfielder despite managing a sub-2.00 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 18 innings of work during the shortened 2021 season. As impressive as the pitching performances have been, his offensive numbers have been just as strong. The right-handed hitting Baez batted .442 his sophomore year. He produced a .378 average his senior year. While there was no season his junior year, he was named the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year for Massachusetts. Baez committed to play for Vanderbilt University. He is currently ranked as the 24th-best prospect on the draft board of MLB.com.
The obvious strength for Joshua Baez is the power, graded a 60/80 by scouts. He has excellent pop now and projects to have power moving forward. This screams middle of the order bat that can do real damage. The likelihood that it continues to develop increases if he fills out his already formidable frame. The eighteen-year-old added 15 pounds between his sophomore and senior years and has room for a bit more. The bat speed is there, and the exit velocity, 102 mph, has been proven in showcases and other competitions.
Despite his size, he has excellent athleticism. As such, he’s a plus defender who has spent the vast majority of his time in centerfield. With his history as a pitcher, it’s no surprise that his arm strength is top tier, graded 70/80 by scouts. If his above average speed does not translate to center, his arm should play well in right field. Additionally, he gets above average jumps and takes good routes to the ball.
Despite hitting very well against lefties, Baez struggles against righthanders who throw breaking pitches. Although he does have a bit of a chase problem, the biggest concern is that he takes good swings on pitches in the zone and misses a fair number of them. If he can improve his overall plate discipline as he develops, the strikeout rates will fall. The bigger issue remains that he must trust his power and bat speed to get the job done or his misses on pitches in the zone will continue to be a challenge.
MLB Comps for Joshua Baez
Scouts see a lot of George Springer and Yoenis Céspedes in Joshua Baez. Looking at the plus arm, raw power, and free swinging, Céspedes seems to be the obvious comparison. However, Springer is much more similar in size at 6’3″ and 221 lbs. If the development stays on track, Springer’s slightly better power numbers combined with Céspedes’ lower strikeout rate would not be out of the question. In short, Baez has the potential to be a perennial all star during his peak and may represent the strongest power potential in this year’s draft.
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