Javy Baez, the MVP's Silly Numbers, and Other Bullets

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Javy Baez, the MVP’s Silly Numbers, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife’s car died this morning, hopefully only temporarily (i.e. battery-related) since I’m 30 minutes away from her … in a rental car … because my own car is in the shop having been wrecked. Hooray driving!

  • Yes, I will absolutely watch Javy Baez highlights from 2018:

  • Baez’s 5.3 WAR in 2018 was 3.0 WAR higher than his previous career high (2.3 the year before). That certainly qualifies as a breakout. Fun fact: the man who beat him out for the MVP, Christian Yelich, also raised his WAR by exactly 3.0 from 2017 to 2018 (7.6). Though you could argue it was slightly less of a “breakout” year, because in 2016, Yelich was worth 5.4 WAR. He’d already broken out; it’s just that last year was monstrous.
  • Baez didn’t show up in this MLB.com look at the historic performances in 2018, but it’s still worth a look. One thing that shows up is something we’ve noted before: Yelich and his utterly absurd 35.0% HR/FB ratio (the third highest mark since the stat started being tracked 17 years ago). What that means is that when Yelich hit a fly ball last year – which was not super often, as he’s more of a groundball/line drive guy – it left the park more than a third of the time. You do have some control over that figure by virtue of the power you’re generating on fly balls and the pitches you’re attacking, but there is a ton of annual variability in the number, even for guys who generally exceed the league average mark (12.7%). Odds are good Yelich’s HR/FB ratio will drop precipitously next year, and with it, his overall production will drop at least slightly. Just sayin’.
  • Bonus fun fact: in the second half, Yelich’s HR/FB was 48.1%. Yup. Half his fly balls were leaving the park. Rolling my eyes.
  • Happy birthday to Cole Hamels, who is a spritely 35 today:

  • Lulz:

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.