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Javier Baez: Baseball to the Extreme

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs super-prospect, has been long awaited by the Wrigley faithful.  Since his promotion, he hasn’t disappointed.  Through 10 games he’s amassed 4 bombs, 2 doubles, 7 RBI, and 6 runs.  As predicted he’s also racked up 17 strikeouts through 45 at bats–good for a robust 38% K rate.  Javier Baez, it seems, accumulates stats–all sorts of stats–to the extreme.  But one category in which he has yet to tally anything?  You guessed it: walks.  Though even there he’s extreme, just on the flip side.  Through 45 plate appearances he has 45 at bats.  Zero walks.  Which leaves a burning question: when will Baez’ triple slash actually include 3 different numbers?  We’re currently stuck at .244/.244/.556.

That .556 SLG% on the end there is why Baez is so special.  (Small sample size notwithstanding, it would be good for 2nd in the NL, 4th in MLB.)  Baez is going to whiff, sure, but there is actually OBP hope on the horizon.  Where does one find such home amidst a 38% K rate and a 0% BB rate?  The answer, to blend aphorisms, is in the eye of the beholder.  (I’ll elaborate, considering I’ve probably lost the majority of our readership by this point.)  Baez may be striking out at a monumental clip–his 38% would lead the majors–but he is also seeing a ton of pitches.  His P/PA of 4.18 would be good for 9th in the NL and 10th in MLB.  As a high BABIP foreshadows a drop in BA, a high P/PA portents a BB% on the rise.  Take heart Cubs fans, we may soon see a triple slash from young Mr. Baez.

The bottom line here seems quite simple: Javier Baez does baseball to the extreme.  He hits home runs extremely often (and extremely far); he strikes out extremely often; he sees and extremely high number of pitches; and elicits extreme reactions from home fans.  For being such a mild mannered dude, he’s pretty extreme.  But what is certain is this: his arrival has made a disheartened Chicago fanbase extremely happy; he will be extremely good as he settles in to MLB life and adjusts to MLB pitching; and he is the extreme tip of the iceberg for the Cubs’ extremely deep pool of young sluggers.  It will be extremely fun to be a Cubs fan in about 3 years.

-Ari Glantz

Stat of the Day: Kris Bryant, the Cubs’ next slugger in line, currently sports a 28% K rate at AAA Iowa.  The future-Cubs are looking like a go big or go home bunch.

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