The Chicago Cubs advanced to the NLCS Tuesday night for the second straight year. Despite the cold hitting, the Cubs relied on great defense and an improbable ninth inning to finally put the Giants down.
The old saying goes, “defense wins championships”. If that belief holds true, Chicago Cubs’ infielder Javier Baez may end up being postseason MVP.
Fans that don’t follow the Cubs every day were treated to some noteworthy performances during the NLDS. The conclusion to game four put to rest any feelings of the “same old Cubs”.
Second baseman Javier Baez had a coming out party against the Giants. After collecting the game-winner in game one, Baez provided more offensive heroics in the crazy ninth inning comeback.
Although his bat spoke loudly, Baez stunned the world with the glove. Javy has one of the fastest tags you will ever get to witness on a ball field.
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Even Denard Span couldn’t help but tip his cap after a ridiculous diving attempt that would be overruled on replay. Moments later, Baez ousted Span trying to steal second.
Javier Baez passes the eye test with ease. Statistical data proves out that Baez is in a stratosphere different from most humans.
Using the advanced stat of defensive runs saved or DRS, Baez ranks among the best despite not reaching the minimum innings to qualify.
The top four-second baseball in 2016 in order were:
- Dustin Pedroia 12 DRS, 1292.2 innings
- Ian Kinsler 12 DRS, 1299 innings
- Robinson Cano 11 DRS, 1376.1 innings
- Josh Harrison 8 DRS, 1077.2 innings
- Javier Baez 11 DRS, 383 innings
I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. This isn’t a typo, and stats don’t lie. Baez managed to save 11 runs at second base in 2016 and did so at a fraction of the playing time. The level of production in such a short amount of time makes Baez one of the most valuable assets for the Chicago Cubs.
Theo Epstein officially has the next star up. Ironically, Baez is a product of the Jim Hendry regime, which was blamed largely for not cultivating talent for the Cubs.
Javier Baez has been the pulse of the Cubs so far this postseason. Offensively and defensively, the Cubs are being paced by the game’s next superstar.
Joe Maddon values defense in the playoffs. In Baez, he’s got one of the best. Given the flashes we’ve seen so far, one can only imagine what it will look like when Baez hits his stride. Defense does win championships, and Baez may have won the MVP of the playoffs.
Wait until he warms up.
Hat Tip: Dan Patrick’s YouTube