Chicago Cubs: The recent disappearing act of Javier Baez

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez is one of the most electric players in MLB.  But bad magic is happening lately. A major disappearing act.

Javier Baez has changed the way middle infielders tag runners, creating a whole new metric: tagging ability.  Last year the Chicago Cubs phenom came within a baseball seam’s thickness of winning the National League MVP.  His sometimes over the top antics have annoyed some, but almost all revel in Javy being Javy.  Certainly, Cubs fans do.

Some feared a drop off from his 2018 near-MVP season. And posting a .290/.326/.554 slash with a .881 OPS and 138 OPS+ lent some credence to that concern. It was a standout year for Baez, to say the least.

Certainly, there were improvements to be made. The Puerto Rican slugger struck out 167 times while drawing just 29 walks, a split that depressed his OBP number. But when you slug 34 home runs, drive in 111 runs and steal 21 bases, some swing and miss is tolerable. Very tolerable.