10 best single season performances by Chicago Cubs players in the last decade
5. Javier Baez 2018
Although Baez broke into the majors in 2014, he did not start seeing regular playing time until 2016. His plate discipline has always been much to be desired, but his glove work and home run potential have always kept him in the starting lineup. His prowess on defense also garnered him the endearing nickname "El Mago," or the magician.
Although he shined in 2016 as the starting second basemen in the playoffs and secured himself an NLCS MVP award, the 2018 season is where Baez put it all together and it remains the best year of his career. The awards he collected while playing several infield positions include the NL Silver Slugger, his first All-Star and Home Run Derby appearances, and a 2nd place finish in MVP voting, where he fell short to division rival Christian Yelich. Baez also set career highs in most of the major offensive categories in 2018, including:
Home Runs: 34
Stolen Bases: 21
Batting Average: .290
Fortunately, Baez continued to be elite in the defense and power departments up until the Cubs traded him to the Mets in 2021. Even though it was hard to see him go, that transaction brought prized prospect Pete-Crow Armstrong to the Cubs organization, who has been flashing arguably the best defensive ability among all outfield prospects in the Minor Leagues since being acquired by the Cubs.