Heaping Praise on Javier Baez and Other Bullets

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Heaping Praise on Javier Baez and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

javy baez cubsJavier Baez’s season line: .333/.400/.667 with a 190 wRC+, a 10% BB rate, and a 10% K rate. And it’s with a .286 BABIP, so you know it’s sustainable.

  • OK, so I’m having a little fun there – it’s been 10 plate appearances, folks – but I do think it’s been enjoyable to see Baez having successful trips to the plate, not only in the results, but in how he looks. The difference in the aggressiveness, the stance, the hand placement, the bat waggle, the leg kick, and the two-strike approach has been very noticeable. Heck, his mammoth homer yesterday came in an 0-2 count with a controlled, virtually-no-leg-kick swing. Sure, it was an ugly, hanging pitch, but that’s exactly why you’d like to see Baez continue this approach – he still has so much power and can take advantage of mistakes even when he’s reducing his swing a bit in pitchers’ counts. He doesn’t have to completely sacrifice power to improve contact.
  • More praise for Baez here from Joe Maddon (CSN), who explains that, while Baez will be a very good every-day player down the road, right now he’s got to be able to move around, come off the bench, etc. I’m trying very hard not to get ahead of myself, but I just get so excited thinking about the potential talent the Cubs just added for the stretch run: a quality glove at multiple infield positions (who can probably play all over the outfield, too, in a pinch), big-time power from the right side, great base-running ability and instincts, and tremendous overall offensive upside.
  • I wonder if we’re going to see Baez start again today against the lefty Robbie Ray. If so, and if Maddon wants to also ensure that all of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Starlin Castro are also in the lineup, you might see Baez start at third base, with Bryant heading out to right field. If so, the Cubs could go with a lineup that can bat ENTIRELY right-handed (Austin Jackson in left, David Ross catching), plus Anthony Rizzo at first (who hits lefties as well as any righty). We’ll see if that’s how Maddon actually goes, but it’s fun to know that’s possible. [UPDATE: After writing this and before publishing, the lineup came out, and sure enough, that’s what Maddon’s doing. The only part that’s different is that Bryant is playing left field, and Jackson is playing in right. Which, in retrospect, duh Brett.]
  • Very interesting:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.