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Top prospect Javier Baez gets promoted to the Cubs

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He won't be playing shortstop any longer, but that barely matters with his bat.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn't much to be excited about on the 2014 Cubs, but Chicago is trying to change that with roughly two months of the season to go. One of their best prospects -- and one of the top prospects in the game -- got the call on Monday, with the Cubs confirming that Javier Baez will join the team in Colorado to face off against the Rockies.

Baez has spent almost his entire minor-league career playing shortstop, but that won't be happening in the majors. The Cubs already have Starlin Castro entrenched at short, and while he's not as young as the 21-year-old Baez, he's still all of 24 and under team control through 2020 if the Cubs exercise his option. Second base is Baez's current position, with 22-year-old Arismendy Alcantara likely shifting to the outfield for now. Baez could play just about anywhere on the diamond if his bat pans out, though, so they don't need to nail down his permanent place in the last couple of months of his rookie campaign.

Whether his bat will work out is the real question. Baez has unquestionably incredible power thanks to bat speed that Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks described as the best in the minors. He's not an advanced hitter in terms of his approach, however: Baez is looking to go long a little too often, and both Baseball America and Prospectus wonder how that will translate to the majors, where pitchers are better equipped to exploit his tendencies to end up in unfavorable counts.

Don't take that to mean Baez is doomed if he struggles in his transition: at the same time BA and BP were warning about his issues, they also ranked him seventh and fifth on their midseason prospect lists, respectively. He's getting this time to play now so he can work out his issues against competition that could actually challenge him. He's not going to stop his bad habits against Triple-A arms who allowed him to hit swat 23 homers and slug over .500 in spite of his flaws, but if he ties himself up in knots for a bit against major-league arms, he can learn to take the next step in his development. When that happens, watch out, because this is an elite power bat waiting to happen, one who will be a top hitter at his position regardless of what that position is.

That's why Baez is getting the call now, instead of the Cubs worrying about his service time. Exposure to the majors will help him along, and in turn help the Cubs along. If they spend the winter acquiring some arms to go along with all of these young hitters, then 2015 could look a whole lot different than 2014. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, though.

Speaking of those other young hitters, the recently acquired Addison Russell is not expected to move up to Triple-A now that Baez has vacated his roster spot in Iowa. ESPN Chicago's Sahadev Sharma is hearing that Russell will finish up his 2014 at Double-A, and continue to play ball in an offseason league instead.