Chicago Cubs: Can Baez get hot down the stretch again in 2019?
People love to hate Javier Baez. And he couldn’t care less.
"“Even people that know what I’ve been through, they don’t like my game or they say they don’t have to because they grew up differently,” he told the Sun-Times. “And I don’t pay attention to that. I respect their comments. As long as they don’t go personal on my family and my style of playing we should be good.”"
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Last year’s breakout campaign cast him into the national spotlight after he narrowly missed out on the Senior Circuit’s top honors to Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich. The young magician dazzled – especially in the summer months, putting up career-highs across-the-board.
But if you thought that was impressive, he’s been just as good so far in 2019. That’s right. The only reason you didn’t notice? Probably because guys like Josh Bell, Cody Bellinger and Yelich have been playing out of their minds since Opening Day. But if you put Baez’s 2018 and 2019 numbers side-by-side, they’re nearly identical.
- 2018: .290/.326/.554 – .881 OPS
- 2019: .290/.325/.560 – .885 OPS
It’s hard telling what the second half will hold for El Mago given his streaky tendencies. But this guy is undoubtedly the most exciting player in Major League Baseball. That’s not to say his emotion and aggression can’t get him into trouble – but those very characteristics solve far more problems than they create.
At this point, it’s too soon to name one guy the Most Valuable Player on this club. But one thing is for sure. If they get all these guys firing at the same time down the stretch, Chicago will go from languishing in a crowded division to dominating the National League scene in a hurry.