Chicago Cubs: Lindor still reigns supreme at shortstop – for now
In the grand scheme of things, MLB Network hit this one on the head. When you look at the list of shortstops coughed up by The Shredder, Baez is actually appropriately ranked. Coming off a 5.3 WAR season, Baez established himself as the best all-around shortstop in the National League and one of the best in all of baseball.
Only Lindor (7.9 WAR), Manny Machado (6.2 WAR), and Andrelton Simmons (5.5 WAR) were better per Fangraphs WAR last season. Baez came alive with the bat, swatting 34 home runs and knocking in 111. He also showed off his impossible swim move slides, steals of home, and his consistently stellar defense in the field.
So, at just barely 26 years of age, Baez is about to enter his prime after putting up consistently improving numbers in the last three season. If the Cubs’ slugging shortstop is able to duplicate or improve on what he did last year, there’s every possibility that baseball fans will be keeping his name on that top shelf of shortstops for years to come.
Despite his 2018, and regardless of anything he does to start the 2019 season, there is every possibility that the second-best shortstop in all of baseball might not end the year playing that position. Upon Russell’s return, it’s possible that Joe Maddon may shift Baez back to second base and keep Addison Russell at shortstop most of the time. But for now, it’s the El Mago show.