MESA, Ariz. - Neither will make the Opening Day roster, but let the hype begin for two of the Cubs' most anticipated prospects as spring games unofficially begin Thursday with an intrasquad game.
Shortstop Javy Baez and outfielder Jorge Soler - ranked 16th and 34th, respectively on Baseball America's top-100 prospects list - might be in just the right place at the right time for a pair of players looking for playing time in their first big-league spring trainings.
Manager Dale Sveum said he's "very excited" to finally get a look at the touted twosome and because of a longer-than-usual schedule of exhibition games expects to get an especially long look for guys who won't compete for big-league jobs.
``We have so many split-squad games, and they're going to get quite a few games in before anything happens getting-sent-down-wise,'' There's a lot of at-bats out there.''
Unofficially, those start today when Soler and Baez bat fifth and sixth, respectively for the "Blue" team in the first of two intrasquad games leading up to Saturday's Cactus League opener.
``Obviously, those are the guys you talk about that are on your radar in the minor-league systems that have all those God-given tools,'' Sveum said, ``the speed, the arm, the power, hopefully the hitting ability - meaning OPS and those things.
``It's a pretty special talent and bat speed that those guys have that you want to see in person at game speed.''