It’s no secret that, among many other players on the Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez are extremely versatile. Neither is it a secret that, more than simply being able to play several defensive positions, each player is rather good at several defensive positions.
So, while I’m not revealing any secrets here, I did think it was fun that each of Bryant and Baez flashed the leather last night at positions not considered their home coming up through the minors.
You had Kris Bryant diving for a catch in left field to rob Bryce Harper of a hit:
Bryant has already displayed a natural proclivity in the outfield, especially coming in on the ball. You lean on small sample defensive metrics at your own peril, but it’s comforting when they match the eye test: in limited duty, Bryant already has 3 DRS in the outfield, and a 13.5 UZR/150. Were he to do that kind of thing over a full season in the outfield, he’d be a top ten defensive outfielder in baseball. You read that correctly.
Then you had Javy Baez ranging to his right at second base, and getting rid of the ball so quickly that, even with speedy Ben Revere coming down the line, it wasn’t even a close play:
Javy with the good hands.https://t.co/9nrpIxZpg2
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 15, 2016
In a one-run game, against a guy who could quickly steal a base, that’s a big out. Oh, and it was also the final out.
For what it’s worth – again, it’s all small sample – but Baez’s numbers at second base have been silly this year (25.5 UZR/150). The same is true at shortstop (34.0 UZR/150). Baez has spent the most time at third base this season, where he’s rated out as just average (after rating as extraordinary there last year).
The eyes, though, they tell enough of the story. Baez is truly impressive defensively, wherever he plays. And Bryant? He’s at least as good defensively in the outfield as he is at third base.
And that’s all rather awesome.