Javier Baez started at second base in Wednesday’s finale against the Reds. Baez was at shortstop for all 15 innings of the middle game and has played shortstop, second and third base on the current road trip. And Baez made another spectacular play in the field Wednesday.
Javier Baez grabbed a bouncer off the bat of Jay Bruce, tagged Joey Votto as he ran by, spun and threw off balance to Anthony Rizzo to complete the 4-3 double play as he fell to the ground.
Baez has tremendous body control. His ability to slow the game down in the field has made him one of best defensive players in the game.
Javier Baez had quite the week defensively. Baez made two ridiculous plays during the series in Miami.
The first was initially called an out, reviewed, overturned and came within an eyelash of being an out which would have put it in the running for play of the year. And the second was a diving catch into the stands that will be at the top of the Cubs best defensive plays of the season.
Joe Maddon talked about Baez’s defense with the Tribune after Wednesday’s game. Maddon thinks Baez is a Gold Glove caliber player. There are things the Cubs “want to fix with him.” Maddon explained, “He’s been making some simple mistakes because he has a flair for the dramatic. As he gets older with more experience, he’s going to stop making the routine mistake because he can do most things that others can’t.”
Offensively, Baez allows the game to speed up on him. He hasn’t learned how to slow it down consistently at the plate yet. When Baez sticks with the approach he knows that works, he has the ability to impact a game.
Javier Baez made the adjustments Tuesday night and it carried into Wednesday’s game. After going hitless in his first six at bats, Baez stepped to the plate in the 15th inning and launched a Grand Slam over the wall in center. When Baez is going right, he is going back up the middle or the opposite field.
Baez was 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI on Wednesday afternoon. Baez flied out to the wall in right center in the first, singled to center and plated Willson Contreras in the third, singled to left in the fifth and doubled to right center in the seventh.
Like several of the Cubs young players, Baez will look lost from time to time in the field and at the plate. When he’s locked in like he was Wednesday, Javier Baez is simply one of the best players on the field.