Cubs Defensive Plays of the 2016 Regular Season
Seemingly on a daily basis the Cubs made a play in the field to add to the highlight reel for the season. If it wasn’t Addison Russell making a difficult play at short look rather routine, it was Javier Baez turning in a spectacular play at either second or third base.
Addison Russell and Javier Baez stick out defensively when looking back at the Cubs regular season. But the entire team had an excellent season in the field, and possibly one of the best defensive seasons of all-time.
According to FanGraphs, the Cubs led baseball with 81 defensive runs saved on the season. The Astros (51), Giants (50), Red Sox (48) and Angels (31) rounded out the top five in baseball in defensive runs saved.
Joe Maddon recently stated his case for four of his players winning Gold Gloves. It was plays by those players, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Jason Heyward, that when looking back still had the same ‘Wow Factor’ as when they were made during the games.
Jason Heyward changed the game on May 20 in San Francisco with this catch. Heyward robbed Denard Span of at least a triple to start the game. Jake Arrieta settled in and the Cubs beat the Giants 8-1. Heyward avoided major injuries and returned to the lineup four days later in St. Louis after making the incredible catch.
Javier Baez turned in this gem on June 24 in Miami a day after coming within an overturned call at first base of making a tremendous play at third base. Baez dove into the stands and helped out Kyle Hendricks in a game the Cubs won 5-4 on a Willson Contreras single in the seventh inning.
Almost a year to the day after making the unforgettable catch on his tarp against the Brewers, Anthony Rizzo jumped on top of the wall, by his tarp, and made an equally unforgettable grab against the Brewers with Jason Hammel on the mound.
This play is just one of the many over a two-week timespan for Addison Russell. ESPN named Addison Russell its Co-Defensive Player of the Month for August and this play could very well be his best in a season that he proved day-in and day-out that he is one of, if not the top defensive shortstop in the National League. Russell’s catch changed the game against the Pirates, one the Cubs won 6-5 on the final day of August.
So, who made the Cubs defensive play of the season? Was it Jason Heyward? Or Javier Baez? Or Anthony Rizzo? Or Addison Russell? Or is there another play that sticks out more than these four?
Enjoy the videos and a look back a few of the Cubs best defensive plays of the season that could lead to some good baseball conversation as the countdown to the NLDS continues.