Cubs look to Baez to lead them to the post­sea­son

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Player Profile - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

As the reg­u­lar sea­son dwin­dles down to its fi­nal few games, many eyes fall on the Na­tional League Wild Card race, where as many as four teams could be jock­ey­ing for that last post­sea­son berth. In the thick of it are the Chicago Cubs, at this writ­ing the front-run­ner for the sec­ond NL Wild Card slot, who will be look­ing to star play­ers such as Javier Baez to lead them back to October.

In their 26-year-old short­stop, the Cub­bies have a su­per­star in the prime of his ca­reer, at this writ­ing bat­ting .282 with 29 home runs, 85 RBIs, a .316 on-base per­cent­age and an OPS of .854. This to go with de­fense so stel­lar at the in­field’s most crit­i­cal po­si­tion that he al­most cer­tainly has a Gold Glove in his fu­ture.

If there’s a chink in his ar­mor, it’s his plate dis­ci­pline. An ag­gres­sive hit­ter who doesn’t draw many walks, Baez has been know to chase pitches far out­side the strike zone. In fact, in one re­cent game he struck out on a pitch mea­sured at more than 13 inches off of home plate, the type of of­fer­ing even Lit­tle Lea­guers know enough to take. His 149 K’s as of late Au­gust and gen­er­ally streaky hit­ting are tes­ta­ment to his free-swing­ing ways.

But when he’s on, he’s the type of hit­ter who can carry a team. And as the Cubs ready to play the NL Cen­tral ri­val St. Louis Car­di­nals Satur­day, Sept. 28, on Fox, in the sec­ond game of a three-game sea­son-clos­ing se­ries, they’ll need Javy to be Javy. For as he goes, so go the Cubs.

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