The Cubs’ rotation gets a lot of attention, which they deserve, but the emergence of Javier Baez is something to pay attention to. Baez has showed moments of absolute amazingness and made some aggressive plays that result in crucial outs. He has made the pitching staff’s job that much easier. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a guy who can put a tag on a baserunner the way Javy does,” pitcher Jake Arrieta said. “It’s almost like as soon as the ball is near the baserunner, he’s tagged. It’s almost like second nature to him. It seems like it comes so naturally and so easy.” Manager Joe Maddon said the thing that impresses him the most about Baez’s fielding is his ability to stay calm and collected, even after making a mistake. “He’s just a different cat on defense, got a slow motor, and in a lot of ways, that’s good. But then again, the energy of the play is high,” Maddon said. “He’s never in a hurry to throw the baseball. He’ll make his mistakes now and then, we all do, but how he does it is just different.”
As I write this (I’ll knock on wood), Baez has 12 errors – one behind Kris Bryant – having played first, second, third, shortstop and left field this season. But we seem to forget about his errors with his spectacular plays that other players probably couldn’t make.
“It’s unfortunate that a player in his position cannot be considered for a Gold Glove, probably is not going to be, but he definitely deserves,” Maddon said. “People will look at errors sometimes and determine, ‘Oh, he’s made too many errors.’ I don’t know how many errors he’s made, but I know all the great things he’s done well exceeds what he’s done in a physical error situation.”
“You respect what he’s able to do, because you know how hard it is,” Arrieta said. “I’ve tried to do things like that, and it doesn’t look near as good.”
As exciting as all aspects of this Cubs team have been this season, it’s still exciting to watch Baez simply tag someone out or make an amazing play. He’s fun to watch and he’s proving that he deserves to be an everyday player.
Gabriella Garcia @gabybabyyy