Chicago Cubs: Breakout season has Javier Baez in the mix for NL MVP

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Carrying the load on the North Side

Despite carrying the league’s highest winning percentage into this weekend at Wrigley, the Chicago Cubs offense has never really hit their stride. Sure, at times, they’ve hung some big numbers on opponents. But it seems, more often than not, they get blanked or manage one or two measly runs the next night.

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Kris Bryant hasn’t been himself since May. A lingering shoulder injury sapped his power – and has now sidelined the former MVP for a good deal of time. Anthony Rizzo, white-hot of late, went through some tumultuous ups and downs earlier this season before turning it on in the second half.

With their two biggest offensive weapons failing to play up to their lofty standards, it’s fallen on Baez to carry the team. And, time and time again, he has done so.

In Cubs wins this year, El Mago owns a 1.024 OPS – with a stellar .381 on-base percentage. Out of the three-spot in the order, Baez is hitting .377 – further evidence that he’s ready to assume the mantle of franchise cornerstone.

Granted, he’s still a bit of a free-swinger. But he’s shown a vast improvement from years past, punishing mistakes with great regularity – even learning to use the whole field, something he’s struggled to do.

Like Joe Maddon said – once he learns to use the whole field and lay off the breaking stuff out of the zone, he’ll be one of the best hitters in the game.