A step back, but still solid
Projections from Baseball Prospectus should be fairly well-received by Chicago Cubs fans.
They don’t expect Baez to become an all-world offensive threat; his bat control and bad habits still ebb and flow too often for that to happen. Still, there is a lot to like about the numbers.
He’s expected to flirt with the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career and could drive in 60 runs again. The slick-fielding infielder is slated for roughly 20 doubles and 50-something runs, so, given his platoon role, he brings a lot to the table.
It’s a step back from the year he had last year. In fact, Prospectus expects his average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage to all tick downward. His average is actually set to dip below .250 again, which would definitely worry Chicago Cubs fans.
Most of all, it’s about maintaining the progress he’s made so far in his still-young career. It’s been a long road since he was dominating Triple-A pitching on a nightly basis, but there’s still even longer to go.
It seems like Javier Baez is heading in the right direction. We saw just what he’s capable of last year in the NLCS, when he led the Chicago offense against the Dodgers.
But, on the other hand, we saw what he’s prone to: cold spells. He batted just .167 in the World Series, which leaves plenty to be desired. The name of the game is consistency, especially at the plate.
If he can stay patient and control the strikeouts, it looks like Javier Baez will play an important role again in 2017.