Because he’d been very good at the plate for a while, and because he was razzle-dazzling us every night with a killer defensive play, it was easy not to notice that Javy Baez went through a bit of a slump at the plate.
In the two weeks from July 30 to August 11, Baez hit just .097/.094/.129 (-55 wRC+) and struck out every other time he came to the plate. (Batting .097 with an OBP that’s even lower? Even when he’s struggling, Baez still does the seemingly impossible!) It was an ugly stretch.
But, here’s the thing: when you’ve gotta slice out a modest 32-plate-appearance stretch to say a guy is struggling, he’s probably actually been really good.
So it is with Baez, who has gone on to post a .429/.429/.857 in his last five games, and who stands at a .280/.315/.457 (103 wRC+). From a guy with such incredible defensive ability at shortstop, second base, AND third base, and who runs the bases as well as anyone in baseball, you will smile such a very big smile to see an above-average bat, too. That’s how Baez has already been worth 2.0 WAR, despite a late start to the year and not playing every day. If you prorated his plate appearances out to a full season, he’d be over 4.0 WAR by the end of the year. Dude.
Baez showed off his still-huge power last night on a two-run blast to left center, which you can watch here.
If you want to know what GET-OFF-ME looks like in a baseball swing, that’s it right there.
The blast went 412 feet, according to the Home Run Tracker, though I would’ve pegged it closer to seven or eight hundred feet. I’m not great at estimating when I’ve momentarily passed out, which keeps happening when I try to watch that clip.
The homer was Baez’s 13th on the year, which is actually tied for 4th most on the Cubs this year (Ben Zobrist). Addison Russell has one more, and, of course, Kris Bryant (28) and Anthony Rizzo (25) are up top.