javier baez featureIt’s not a New Year’s resolution or anything like that, because, for me, that stuff doesn’t work. But I’m kind of thinking about getting a nice blender (I’m told Ninjas are good) and, like, doing some blending. Anyone ever tried to replace a meal a few times per week with a smoothie? One of the ones with vegetables and nuts and all kinds of stuff blasted into it? Is this actually a good idea? Seems like a fairly healthy thing to do. Anyone? Tips?

  • A quick look at Javier Baez’s debut strikeout rate over at Da Windy City reveals two things in chart form: (1) some star players have been able to reduce their strikeout rate significantly (8 to 10 percentage points) after their big league debut; (2) Baez’s debut strikeout rate was so far above those other guys that you almost miss his dot when looking at the chart (it was 41.5% in 2014). The good news is that Baez, playing a middle infield position and with his power, can be an above-average regular in the big leagues with a strikeout rate in the 33% to 35% range. The bad news is that he won’t ever be a superstar at that level, and he’s going to need to be one of those rare guys whose strikeout rate drops that significant 8 to 10 percentage points just to get into that range.
  • This is nothing you didn’t already know: the warning signs on Baez are bright, bold, and unmistakable, but he is uniquely talented, and might be able to overcome them. You wouldn’t want to plan on it happening, but you also don’t want to throw away the chance at a .260/.320/.500 guy who can play average defense at short or above-average defense at second base. That’s an All-Star, and it remains plausible for Baez if he can get his strikeout rate down to the mid-30s, and sustain his 6 to 7% walk rate and get his ISO to the .240 range (that was Anthony Rizzo’s ISO last year, and was 8th best in baseball – a lofty goal, but it’s definitely an area where Baez could be a top ten guy). Again, you’d be setting yourself up for heartache if that’s what you’re expecting. But if you want to know a realistic best-case-scenario at this point, it’s that.
  • On the bright side, in his latest PRWL game, Baez had five plate appearances without a single strikeout.
  • The 10 most popular FanGraphs posts of 2014 offers an interesting insight into what folks are into. Also: 3 of the top 10 are Cubs-centric pieces.
  • I kept meaning to share this incredible photoshop, and you’ll be able to see from the date how long it kept falling off my radar. But, better late than never, because it’s probably the best Cubs-related shop I’ve ever seen:

  • The 100th Anniversary Game/Party at Wrigley last year was a herculean undertaking, and was one of the best events of the year (you can ask anyone who was there – the Cubs legitimately did a great job). Vine Line has an in-depth writeup of all that went into it.
  • Your periodic poke to give the BN Facebook page a like, by clicking that button right there:

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