Chicago Cubs: Is it all coming together for Javier Baez?


It’s been a rough stretch for the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez, personally and professionally. After getting the call-up last season and making an immediate impact, things didn’t hold together well for the young slugger, as he couldn’t make consistent contact late in the season and into Spring Training. The result was a trip back to Triple-A Iowa. But that would be the least of his worries this season. 

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Baez would lose his sister Noely to Spina Bifida prior to the start of the season, and took a leave of absence from the team to deal with the loss. Baez and his sister were very close, and it was clear how much the youngster was affected by the loss. A slow start upon his return to Iowa had many wondering if we would ever see the high-ceiling potential once again. According to Baez, we just might.

Recent weeks have seen a return to the form that made Baez the original Kris Bryant. In his last 10 games before Saturdays contest, Baez was hitting .342 (13-for-38), with a home run, eight RBIs and four stolen bases. According to Baez, it’s back.

"“I think I found my swing,” Baez said. “Well, I don’t think, I know I found my swing.” h/t Tommy Birch Des Moines Register"

What we need to remember is that Baez is only 22. Younger than Bryant. He helped to raise his sister Noely, and caring for her, as well as her passing were something that may have weighed more heavily on him than he ever let on. Since his return, it’s reported he appears happier than he’s been in a long time. He says he hasn’t felt this good at the plate since he was in Double-A. The question now is can he hold on to it. And even more so, will the Cubs have a place for him?

When Baez made his debut with the Cubs, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were the only two locked in on the Cubs infield. Rumors have swirled that Castro isn’t, but that’s hard to believe no matter how talented these incoming prospects are. So with Bryant at third, Castro at shortstop and the young Addison Russell at second, who moves? Russell is already playing out of position, and if any of them are moved, they will be playing a position they likely haven’t seen in a long time.

Baez is athletic as the rest of the group, and it very well could be him that finds himself making a move. Or at the least, making himself a valuable trade chip for pitching that the Cubs appear be in need of still, and likely will be into the All-Star break. What’s for certain that if he keeps up this pace, he’s going to force the issue for the Cubs.

Next: Wood to the bullpen, Wad to replace him in rotation?