Javier Baez was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2011, chosen ninth overall, right after his close friend Francisco Lindor.
The two infielders put on a show during the World Series and both would appear to be on the cusp of superstardom.
Javy’s hitting in the minor leagues was strong and steady (overall: .287/.346/.541 with 90 home runs in 397 minor-league games). “Too many strikeouts” was always the rap, and it was true: a 28.2 percent K rate in the minors isn’t good.
But man, he could hit. I once saw him hit a home run in spring training that hit the scoreboard at Peoria Stadium. I’ve been to probably 15-20 games in that park and never saw anyone come close to that board, which is probably 460 feet from the plate. Another Javy spring blast cleared the scoreboard at HoHoKam Park and landed six cars deep in the parking lot, probably 500 feet.
What I don’t think any of us expected was the unbelievable defense Baez showed us during the 2016 season -- at three different positions. If they had a “multiple position” Gold Glove, he’d surely have won it.
So I’m going to dedicate the rest of this spring countdown post to some of the best Javy defense (with a bit of offense and baserunning) we saw last year. It can only get better.