Chicago Cubs: Javier Báez, your 2018 All-Star Game starter?

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Javier Báez is off to a tremendous start in 2018. If he keeps his numbers up, he should represent the Chicago Cubs in the All Star Game.

Javier Báez, 2018 National League All-Star? Excluding Kris Bryant, there may be no other Chicago Cubs player more worthy.

Báez, 25, has easily been one of the most impressive hitters for the Cubs to start the season. Really, he has been of the most impressive players in all of Major League Baseball thus far in 2018.

Hot start at the dish

In 33 games, Báez is hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI. His .636 slugging percentage is otherworldly, ranking fourth in MLB entering Friday’s opener against the Chicago White Sox.

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Despite such a high slugging percentage, Báez’s OPS is just .964 because of his rather low .328 on-base percentage. He has walked just six times in 129 at-bats, four of which were intentional.

Be that as it may, he has 37 hits already, 22 of which have been for extra bases. His 10 home runs rank seventh among big leaguers. The Cubs surely would welcome Báez walking more, but his bat has made up for his low walk total to-date.

This is especially true considering how up-and-down the Cubs’ offense has been this season. While their 165 runs rank ninth in the MLB, they have scored three runs or less 18 times.

National League’s finest

Baseball is a team sport, meaning individual successes can only help a team so much. However, Báez’s individual success can make him a near shoe-in to make his first All Star team this summer.

Entering Friday’s game, Báez leads all National League second baseman in WAR (1.7), slugging, OPS, home runs and RBI. Essentially, there is no National League second baseman (at this point) more worthy of the All-Star Game than Báez.

Whether he starts, though, might be out of his hands. Fans are responsible for voting All-Star Game starters, so Báez’s numbers will only take him so far. Look no further than 2016: the Cubs had five All-Star starters because their enthusiastic fans.

A prime example of this is Addison Russell, who fans voted a starter despite hitting .237 before the break. Essentially, fan votes can have a drastic effect on the exhibition game and the players in it.

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In this case, Báez is in good hands. If he keeps his numbers up, he should make his first All Star Game appearance, starter or not. With the power of Cubs fans, though, look for him to be in the starting lineup for the National League come July 17.