All the Reasons to Bank on a Javy Báez Bounce-Back and Other Cubs Bullets

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All the Reasons to Bank on a Javy Báez Bounce-Back and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I got to hang out with a friend last night for the first time in months, and damn it is such a joy. You forget how important and wonderful it is to simply sit down with a friend and have a beer, BS’ing about nothing in particular. We did it the “right way” and all that, which of course matters for our health. But just doing it also matters a great deal for health. Mental health, and enjoying the spins you get around this earth while you’re getting them sure as heck matters, too.

•   Last year was brutal for Javy Báez at the plate, but it also feels like it’s just so easy to excuse – for any player, really, but maybe especially for Báez. Consider that you have the standard excusing factors – the small sample and the dealing-with-life-in-a-pandemic ones are the big two – plus you also have the lack of fans and the lack of in-game video, two things that don’t impact all players equally, but *clearly* impact Báez in a big way. We already knew these things to be true, but here’s what Báez had to say, for example, about the lack of fans ( “It was the worst. It was worse than facing a pitcher in Spring Training on the back field, to be honest. I didn’t like it at all.” No energy. Báez can feel that, and you hear all the time from guys about how facing pitchers on the back fields is just not the same thing. So for Báez, it was like that … but worse.

•   And on the lack of in-game video – which is returning this year – Báez was one of the first players to speak openly about how it impacts his ability to make in-game adjustments. It just threw off his whole routine. Here’s his hitting coach Anthony Iapoce speaking generally about what was lost for players like Báez (Sun-Times): “It’s not necessarily breaking down your swing that the guys are looking for, it’s reassurance. Things happen so fast in the moment at the game. You may think a pitch is somewhere else, but then when you actually see it again on the replay, you’re like, ‘Wow, that ball was away. I thought it was middle-in because it ran so much.'”

•   There’s another factor for Báez, and I like that he was able to open up as a human and be honest about how different things can pull you in different directions as a professional. You have to grow and learn in more ways than show up between the lines:

•   So, then. If you want to bet on a guy to bounce back in a big way this year, Báez – who rated as one of the worst hitters in baseball last year – might be a really good bet. And that could tie into the extension talks that’ll take place in the coming weeks.

•   Obviously it’s up to him how he wants to approach his final year under contract with the Angels, but if it’s highly likely there’s not going to be another guaranteed job for him next year at age 42, then I’d think he would kinda want to do the farewell tour this season:

•   JHey has the nuts:

•   Anthony Rizzo’s famous wiener dog Kevin has his own cleats now:

•   You know what? I respect the boldness:

•   Is it accurate? Well, I think you could make that on-paper argument. None of the projection systems seem to agree, but *if* the White Sox got further development from all their young bats, and *if* Lance Lynn stays shockingly great, and *if* a guy like Michael Kopech comes up and dominates (a couple more ifs), and then yeah, I could definitely see it. There aren’t that many – if any – teams in the AL that I think clearly look better on paper than the White Sox. It’s just a really, really loaded group with upside.

•   What a bizarre exchange between a Cardinals pitcher and a Cardinals beat writer about a completely meaningless BP homer:

•   Onto Waveland:

•   DeRo:

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.