Chicago Cubs: Baez breaks out to become a full-blown superstar
2018 was a season to remember for Baez. He posted career-highs in nearly every offensive category, hitting 34 home runs and driving in 111 RBI to go along with a .290 batting average. With former MVP Kris Bryant out most of the season with injuries, Baez was forced to step up and he delivered in a big way.
A lot of things seemed to change for Baez last season, especially his approach at the plate. In the past, he has primarily been a pull hitter but he used the whole field in 2018. This season he hit to the ball to the opposite field 26 percent of the time which was a career high. He also hit the ball harder than he ever has in his career, making hard contact 35.8 percent of the time.
Baez’s improvement’s at the plate since entering the league are night and day. A perfect example is when Baez hit a game-tying double in the Wild Card game against the Rockies. He was facing an 0-2 count, didn’t panic and took a much more controlled swing to make contact and drive the run in.
Baez was hands down the best player on the Cubs this season and without him, they probably don’t go to the playoffs. Along the way, he was voted to his first All-Star game and finished as the runner-up to Christian Yelich for the National League MVP.
One thing is for sure, Baez has made tremendous improvements since being drafted by the Cubs. He of course still has that pop but he is almost unrecognizable as a hitter when it comes to his approach. He has developed a much better eye and has much better plate discipline so he won’t always chase that pitch low and away anymore.
The best part about all of this; Baez is still only 26 years old. He may not have even reached his full potential yet. If that’s the case he’ll just continue to get better and better until he takes home the National League MVP himself.