Javy Baez has been tasked with moving all over the infield defensively since coming up to the Chicago Cubs, and not only has he acquitted himself well, he has looked freaking outstanding in his time at second base, shortstop, and third base.
Javy Baez has won The Fielding Bible's multi-position award again! Because he's freaking awesome! pic.twitter.com/kRY4gT2xz8
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 30, 2017
For those who don’t know, The Fielding Bible awards are handed out by a 12-person panel of experts, and one player in baseball wins at each position. It tends to be a little bit more … rigorously vetted than the Gold Glove Award (which, admittedly, has gotten much better in recent years). Further, The Fielding Bible awards a multi-position spot, in recognition of the fact that many excellent defenders play multiple positions, like Baez.
From the press release announcing the awards, here’s the commentary from John Dewan on why Baez got the multi-position honor:
“Baez possesses arm strength that is above average when he plays on the left side of the diamond, and it becomes downright ridiculous when he is playing second base,” says Dewan. “He believes he can make every throw on the diamond, and the vast majority of the time he is correct.”
Whether he is positioned at second base or shortstop, Baez is incredibly adept at ranging to his right, setting his feet, and getting off a strong accurate throw all in one fluid motion. He is also excellent as a relay man, using his aforementioned arm strength to cut down runners who attempt to take an extra base. No matter what position he is playing, Baez loves to position himself incredibly deep on the infield prior to the pitch to allow himself ample time and the opportunity of having every angle available to him as he chases down groundballs. Finally, Baez’s ability to make quick tags directly upon receiving the ball has aided in making base runners extra wary when attempting to swipe second base.
A much-deserved honor for one of the Cubs’ elite defenders, Baez won the award in 2016, and now he’s working on a streak. I’m sure he’d be content to have a set defensive home, but when the Cubs need him to move around, Baez is literally the best in the business.
The other Fielding Bible award winners this year:
- First Base – Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Second Base – DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies
- Third Base – Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
- Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels
- Left Field – Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
- Center Field – Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
- Right Field – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
- Catcher – Martin Maldonado, Los Angeles Angels
- Pitcher – Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros