*Note: The Following was pasted from my 2021 MLB Draft 1st Round Primer: The Commits.
OF Joshua “Not Javy” Baez
Remember Stanford’s Brock Jones just destroying the ever-loving hell out of baseballs in the NCAA Tourney? Well, that’s the comp for Boston outfielder Josh Baez. He’s bigger, faster, stronger, and throws harder than everyone else in this draft. Seriously. Like Jones, he’s a linebacker/safety playing baseball.
The 6’3”, 220lb OF will turn 18 right around draft time. Let’s just say our lineup could desperately use his power stroke. Of course, tooled up athletic monsters like Baez almost never make it to college. He’s got an exit velo of 102mph. Is that good?
Here’s the scouting report from MLB.com:
Massachusetts high school baseball doesn’t tend to produce a ton of early-round talent. The last time a prep talent from the state went in the top three rounds was when the D-backs took right-hander Matt Tabor in 2017 and Isan Diaz is the most recent position player taken that high, a second rounder — also by Arizona — in 2014. Baez, who had his raw power on display at a number of summer showcase circuit events and showed off his tools enough to be named the Gatorade state high school player of the year, has a very good chance to join them in July.
There might not be a player in the Draft class with more raw pop than Baez. It shows up in games against good competition, like when he crushed a home run with an exit velocity well over 100 mph at the Area Code Games. With that power comes a lot of swing and miss, especially when he gets too home run happy. He doesn’t take bad swings or get fooled, but just swings through pitches while trying to hit the ball 600 feet every time. There is hope that when he learns to trust his strength and tone down his swing, he’ll make more contact and find his power is naturally there.
While not a burner, Baez is a solid runner who knows how to steal a base and could stick in center field for a while. If the Vanderbilt recruit needs to move to a corner, he should profile very well in right, with a hose for an arm that fires fastballs up to 97 mph off the mound.
Range: Late 1st Round to 2nd round.
Chance He Signs With The Team Who Drafts Him: 95%. The only reason he’s not in the 99.99% category like Lawlar is that he’s currently being mocked towards the top of the 2nd round. Will that be enough to buy him out of his Vanderbilt commitment? I’d say likely yes, but still, there is a non-trivial chance he could be ours. You know Corbs and Astronaut Mike Baxter will be in his ear all week.