Cubs look to Baez to lead them to the postseason

Baez keeps Cubs in the postseason hunt

Javier Baez

As the regular season dwindles down to its final few games, many eyes fall on the National League Wild Card race, where as many as four teams could be jockeying for that last postseason berth.

In the thick of it are the Chicago Cubs, at this writing the front-runner for the second NL Wild Card slot, who will be looking to star players such as Javier Baez to lead them back to October.

In their 26-year-old shortstop, the Cubbies have a superstar in the prime of his career, at this writing batting .282 with 29 home runs, 85 RBIs, a .316 on-base percentage and an OPS of .854. This to go with defense so stellar at the infield’s most critical position that he almost certainly has a Gold Glove in his future.

If there’s a chink in his armor, it’s his plate discipline. An aggressive hitter who doesn’t draw many walks, Baez has been know to chase pitches far outside the strike zone. In fact, in one recent game he struck out on a pitch measured at more than 13 inches off of home plate, the type of offering even Little Leaguers know enough to take. His 149 K’s as of late August and generally streaky hitting are testament to his free-swinging ways.

But when he’s on, he’s the type of hitter who can carry a team. And as the Cubs ready to play the NL Central rival St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, Sept. 28, on Fox, in the second game of a three-game season-closing series, they’ll need Javy to be Javy.

For as he goes, so go the Cubs.

Name: Ednel Javier Baez

Birth date: Dec. 1, 1992

Birthplace: Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Height/weight: 6 feet/190 pounds

Teams: Chicago Cubs (2014-present)

Position: Shortstop

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 9

Honors and achievements: A two-time All-Star (2018, 2019); Silver Slugger Award (2018); NL RBI leader (2018); NLCS MVP (2016); 2016 World Champion; three-time Fielding Bible Award (2016-18); best season was 2018, when he hit .290 with 34 homers, 111 RBIs, a .326 on-base percentage and an .880 OPS

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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