Chicago Cubs: Leaving it all on the diamond every day
What I am going to tell you is that Javy Baez getting a chance to play in 160 games in 2018 and also having a monster season was no coincidence. Given the chance to play every day because of injuries to Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, and the latter’s subsequent suspension, Baez made the most of his talent, potential and versatility by seizing his opportunity to be “the guy” on a team with a lot of those types.
While Baez did play in 142 and 145 games the previous two seasons, he was not necessarily an ‘everyday’ player in 2016 or 2017, and was not in that Bryzzo category for Maddon in terms of usage rate (When healthy, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant have played more often than any of the other players on the team during the last four seasons).
What “El Mago” did with his chance was, well… magical. Baez had career-highs in almost every offensive category, slashing .290/.326/.554, producing a wRC+ of 131 (which basically means he was 31 percent better than an average player), and putting up an ISO of .264. He also had 40 doubles, nine triples and 101 runs scored; all personal bests by a wide margin.