Chicago Cubs: What can we expect from Javier Baez in 2017?
By Jake Misener
Tags, throws and dives – he does it all
Even when he goes through cold spells with the bat, Javier Baez is an elite defender who has a very real shot at Gold Glove hardware in the future.
Last year, he put up a 3.5 UZR at shortstop, a 1.7 at third base and 5.3 at second base. He appeared in 140-plus games because of one simple reason: he can play anywhere.
His 2.7 WAR ranked as the best of his career; and it was a credit to his solid all-around play.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Baez ranks as a very adept defender. As noted above, it didn’t really matter where you put him on a diamond: he performs.
To be honest, it’s hard to break down the 24-year-old’s defensive value using just numbers.
He’s been the make-or-break on countless attempted stolen bases. The time it takes him to receive a ball from the catcher and slap a tag down is quicker than almost any player I’ve ever seen.
You have to chalk some of this up to his reflexes, which are unparalleled. He’s valuable largely because of how mentally adept he is when he’s on a ball diamond.
Since joining the Cubs, Javier Baez has brought a youthful energy on a daily basis. More often than not, it’s on defense that he leads the troops.