There may be significant questions about whether Josh Bell is willing to sign a professional baseball contract, but there should be many fewer concerns about one of his fellow highly heralded prep prospects. Based on the tattoo that versatile infielder Javier Baez added to his neck, as photographed by the Florida Times-Union and pictured below, it seems likely the new No. 9 overall pick of the Chicago Cubs would prefer to take whatever deal he can get with the Cubs as opposed to head into junior college baseball at Chipola (Fla.) Community College.
Clearly, Baez isn't lacking for confidence. Given his prodigious talents -- RivalsHigh senior analyst Dallas Jackson had slotted Baez in the No. 32 spot to Tampa Bay in his final mock draft before he eventually went in the top 10 -- it's likely that he'll have little trouble landing a solid signing bonus to his major league deal, as well.
Scouts have long felt Baez has pro fielding potential throughout the infield positions, but given the improvement he made at the plate in his senior season, the Times-Union offered stats that make clear there is little question the athletic infielder earned himself his lofty spot in the top 10 of the draft.
The Arlington (Fla.) Country Day star's 2011 season included 115 appearances at the plate, at which he had 64 hits in 83 official at-bats, complete with 22 homers, 20 doubles and six triples. That was good for a stunning average of .771, not to mention the 52 RBIs, 46 runs and 28 stolen bases, flashing the speed you can see in the scouting highlight video below.
"His instincts are incredible," ACD coach Ron Dickerson told the Times-Union. "He reads the ball off the bat so well. He made three errors this season, but that's only because he was able to get to some balls that most kids wouldn't get a glove on."
As for the tattoo on the back of his neck, Baez's ink is a duplicate of the tattoo sported by his older brother, Agosto Baez. The brothers, who have been together since Javier emigrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico six years ago, are still close, with Agosto often serving as an interpreter for Javier. And like Javier, Agosto was once drafted, by the Padres in the 15th round of the 2002 draft.
Now, Javier Baez is focused on getting even further than his brother, an achievement which would make those tattoos a bit more meaningful, all while adding a second MLB logo on the back of the jersey Javier would wear, one which would sit right below the one that's permanently on the back of his neck.
"I've worked hard all my life for this," Baez said through interpreter Rolando Agosto, his older brother. "It's exciting and makes me a little nervous."