Chicago Cubs: The case for Baez
After showing signs of his pending stardom for years, Baez finally burst onto the national stage this year, leading the Cubs in home runs (34), RBI (111, which also led the National League), runs (101), doubles (40), hits (176) and stolen bases (21) while posting a 5.3 fWAR.
Baez became just the fourth middle infielder in Cubs history to record a 30-homer, 100-RBI season while becoming the fifth Cub to do so by the age of 25, according to Muskat.
“El Mago” certainly provided the magic on the bases as well, with daring forays around the bases that caused chaos for opposing defenses and miraculous diving catches into the stands:
Despite the increased swing rate, Baez saw a decline in his strikeout rate while his isolated power climbed to a colossal .264, according to FanGraphs. He had more success swinging early in the count, rather than falling behind and becoming more susceptible to the fastball up or a breaking ball in the dirt with two strikes.
Baez’s base running value improved despite making a number of outs on bases, and he posted 10 total defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs. Considering just how much he has improved in a few years, it seems the sky is the limit for El Mago.