Cubs News: Is Javier Baez coming out of his major cold spell?

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Cubs infielder Javier Baez has been ice-cold. What can he do to turn it around?

Javier Baez may have turned a corner on Monday, hitting a pair of home runs in the win over the Tigers. But the two-time All-Star has struggled so far in 2020, as he headed into Monday’s action hitting .200 with a .250 on-base percentage,  tied for seventh with 37 strikeouts on top of that. It appears Baez has reverted back to some of his old ways and he needs to make adjustments if he wants to get himself on track.

The emergence of Ian Happ and surprisingly consistent Jason Kipnis have helped downplay the struggles of Baez, but if this team wants to get hot they will need him to get things going at the plate.

It seems Baez hits a rough patch each year and we have the same conversation about his plate discipline. The frustrating part about his game is that since he’s been in the league for seven years, one would think he would develop more consistency in how he takes his approach. He gets too flashy at times and we see him seemingly swing at everything. In 2018, we had thought he had outgrown this habit as he finished runner-up in MVP voting to Christian Yelich. However, he has opened the 2020 campaign showing those bad habits haven’t fully disappeared.

Baez has never been known for his on-base-percentage, but this the first thing he must improve upon if he wants to get his season on track With his .250 on base percentage and 37 strikeouts through the team’s first 27 games, pitchers aren’t going to give him pitches to hit with his lack of patience. If he can start working counts and getting on-base, he will start to earn more respect and get more pitches he can do damage with.

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Heading into the week, the Cubs as a team ranked 25th in team batting average at .224. Baez isn’t the only contributor to this low average, but there is that drive inside of him that causes him to try and do too much times. This low team average could be causing Baez to try too hard to put the team on his back. We need consistency more than anything from our shortstop and with that consistency, his pop will come.

To put Baez’s impatience into perspective, he has drawn five walks so far in 2020. The league leader is Carlos Santana with 28. Santana is batting .187, but his ability to be patient at the plate goes into his .380 on base percentage.

If Baez can once again improve his plate discipline, a 4-for-34 slump like the one he was just is in won’t be an issue because he’ll still find ways to get on base. However, with this slump combining with a .250 OBP , it almost feels like a waste of an at-bat.

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The Cubs need Baez to get going more than anyone on the team. It starts with plate discipline. If Baez can start seeing more pitches and increase his on base percentage, his bat is going to get very hot and the Cubs offense will benefit as a result.