Tyler Lowe   4/12/2018

 

Cubs second basemen Javier Baez has had quite the past week. In the two games played against the Pittsburgh Pirates, “El Mago” has homered four times. Even before the Pirate series, Baez was making headlines for his ultra-aggressive baserunning and timely hitting this season. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Baez’s game in 2018 has been his willingness to take a more disciplined approach at the plate.

Last season, he walked only 30 times in around 500 plate appearances. Baez is on pace to double that number in 2018. Madden has helped Baez by putting him in the 8-hole in the lineup frequently. This has led to opposing pitchers either attacking him early with fastballs or pitching around him altogether, choosing to take their chances facing Cub pitchers.

Ideally, Baez would turn into a player that the Cubs can slot in anywhere 1-5 and be a perennial all-star. What will it take for Baez to make this happen?

1. Keep Being Disciplined at the Plate

If Javy wants to be a potential MVP, he will need to keep his disciplined approach at the plate. If he’s able to consistently lay off of breaking balls down and away and fastballs up, he’s going to be a very dangerous hitter. I’m talking a .300, 30 HR, 100 RBI guy. Combine that with his elite defense and you’ve got a guy that will get MVP votes.

2. Translate Aggressive Baserunning into Stolen Bases

 It’s not hard to see that Javier Baez likes running the bases and being aggressive when the chance presents itself. However, Baez has yet to turn into an aggressive base stealer. If he can swipe just 15-20 bases year-in and year-out, he would automatically become much more valuable to a Cubs team that lacks overall speed.

 

Photo: Witz/NY Times

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