Javier Baez might be unjustly lagging behind in the All-Star game fan voting, but he still leads the Cubs in WAR with 2.9 (he’s actually tied for 17th best in MLB with Manny Machado, among others) and my favorite advanced stat: highlights/second.
Check out the almost unbelievable number of memorable plays he made IN JUST ONE WEEK:
He did a WHOLE lot this week. Here are the plays in that video, alone:
- An unbelievably athletic, play-saving catch? Check.
- Bunt for a hit? Check.
- Throw someone out at the plate? Check.
- Catch a runner in a pickle between home and third, tag him out, and still get a second out with a rocket throw behind the runner at first? Check.
- Home Run? Check.
- Grand Slam? Check.
- Another ridiculous catch up the middle? Check.
Check, check, check. All he was missing was one of his patented tags (sadly, no one runs on him and Willson Contreras anymore (or, at least, they shouldn’t)) and one of those magic slides … oh, wait! He did that, too:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 2, 2018
Altogether, Baez is slashing .290/.326/.567 (132 wRC+) this season, which, for reference, is almost exactly the level of production Anthony Rizzo contributed to the team all of last year. Think about that. That’s insane, given how valuable Rizzo is because of his offense and how much more Baez contributes on defense, the base paths, etc. We are very lucky to have him and it’s been so fun watching him finally put everything together.
And as if it wasn’t enough to be a standout player on the field, Baez is becoming a stand-up man off it. Here’s what he did with his off-day yesterday:
Yesterday, El Mago shared the secrets to his magic with a camp of young future ball players.
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 3, 2018
How can you not love this Cubs team?