Cubs’ Baez seeks to recapture All-Star form in 2021

Cubs' Baez looks to put 2020 in rearview mirror

Javy Baez

In the category of players due for a comeback season, we present for your consideration Javy Baez.

Indeed, the two-time All-Star shortstop and sparkplug atop the Chicago Cubs’ lineup is coming off the worst season of his career, one in which some metrics and analytics identified him as the worst offensive player in baseball. His numbers – a .203 average, eight home runs, a .238 on-base percentage and an OPS of .599 – don’t lie: 2020 was a pretty miserable year.

But that was in a pandemic-shortened 60-game schedule that wrought havoc with more than a few players. For Baez, though, there may have been another contributing factor.

Prior to 2020, Baez relied heavily on in-game review of video to make adjustments to his swing on the fly. But that was banned by MLB last year in the aftermath of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. For his part, Baez points to both factors as hurting his performance.

To his credit, Baez didn’t take his struggles into the field, winning his first Gold Glove in 2020. And with a 162-game slate in 2021, along with the return of in-game video review and free agency on the horizon, the stage is set for a return to form for the uber-talented man nicknamed “El Mago” (Spanish for “The Magician”), who at 28 should be enjoying the prime of his career.

Baez and the Cubs can be seen in action Monday, April 12, opening a three-game road series against the Milwaukee Brewers in a clash of National League Central rivals airing on Fox Sports 1.

Player Profile

Javy Baez

Full 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: Two-time All-Star (2018, 2019); World Series champion (2016); NLCS MVP (2016); Gold Glove Award (2020); Silver Slugger Award (2018); NL RBI leader (2018); All-World Baseball Classic Team (2017)

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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