One game, even where the rest of the sample is small enough for that game to meaningfully move a player’s numbers, can only tell you so much. Maybe the pitching match-ups were just right. Maybe the ball happened to find the sweet spot on the bat, rather than the opposite. Maybe this, maybe that.
So, even after a brilliant game last night for Javy Báez, everything we talked about a couple days ago is still on your radar as registering concern about Báez’s start to the 2020 season. When the under-the-hood stuff is so off for a month+, that’s where you need to see improvements over a large series of plate appearances to feel confident something worked itself out or was fixed or whatever. Maybe later this week we can look at that for Báez.
In the meantime, though, there’s no reason not to celebrate a great Javy game. A single to center, a rocket out to right center, a moonshot out to left center, and another one nearly sent out to left center. Man that’s all good to see, especially given that (1) the oppo shot was a pitch down and away that Báez stayed back on, stepped into, and drove, and (2) the pulled homer was a hanging meatball curveball that he’d been missing lately.
Also good to see? Javy Báez came into the game hitting .200/.250/.350 with a 60 wRC+, and the one-night performance pushed him up to .219/.265/.419 with an 81 wRC+. Still not where you want him to be, but that was one game.
Of the homer to right center, Javy’s manager said this (Cubs.com): “Listening to him come back in the dugout, about how good that felt for him, I think is a positive. A really nice approach, that homer to right. I think that’s got to be a big weight lifted off of his shoulders.” It’s not like Báez doesn’t know how well he does when he stays back and goes the other way with authority – he has the natural power and bat speed to pull it off. He clearly just needed (still needs?) to make some adjustments. Last night was a great step.
The visual fun:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 25, 2020
A homer deep into each gap. Nearly a third bomb to left-center, too. Plus, a single flipped into center on a low-and-away splitter.
A lovely spray chart for Javy tonight. pic.twitter.com/AAzHcW7Blg
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 25, 2020