Javier Baez, not Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo, has become the face of the Chicago Cubs not to mention the team’s best all-around player. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Baez’s and the Cubs’ 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Javier Baez MLB Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
Born in Puerto Rico, Baez attended high school in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cubs selected Baez with the ninth overall selection of the 2011 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 5, 2014. In his first game, he hit a home run, a game-winner in the 12th inning against the Colorado Rockies. He became the first player since Miguel Cabrera in 2003 to hit an extra innings home run in his debut.
In just his third game, Baez hit two home runs, becoming the first player since Joe Cunningham in 1954 to hit three home runs in his first three MLB games. Baez hit his fifth career home run in his 14th game, joining Jason Kipnis as the only other second baseman to do so in the last 100 years.
Baez became known to the world in the 2016 NLCS against the Dodgers when he was named co-MVP alongside starting pitcher Jon Lester as the Chicago Cubs won the pennant on their way to a World Series title.
The 2018 season was when Javier Baez became a star as he finished a close second to Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich for NL MVP. Baez set career highs in batting average (.290), doubles (40), home runs (34) and RBIs (111) and was named the starting second baseman for the NL All-Star team. He led the league in RBIs and paced Chicago in doubles, triples (nine) and home runs. Baez was the first Cubs player to lead the NL in RBIs since Sammy Sosa drove in 160 in 2001. Baez also became the first player in Major League history to reach 40 doubles, nine triples, 34 homers, 111 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in a single season. His 5.3 WAR was the 15th best of any Cub in the last 30 seasons.
While Baez played all around the infield early in his career, he became the Cubs’ everyday shortstop last year but missed most of September with a hairline fracture in the thumb. Baez took a small step back from the MVP-candidate form he showed in 2018 but was still quite good last year, hitting .281/.316/.531 with 29 homers and 11 steals.
According to Statcast, Baez recorded his highest barrel percentage last year at 12.7 percent. His 91.0 mph exit velocity was a career-high but at a career-low 7.6-degree launch angle. “El Mago” hit .270 off fastballs, .294 off breaking balls, and .275 off off-speed pitches last season. To demonstrate how far he’s come, Baez hit just .230 off breaking balls in 2016.
Finally, Baez had a career-high 50.3 percent groundball rate with 18.1 percent line drives and 31.6 percent flyballs in 2019. He hit to all fields, 36.1 percent to left, 36.1 percent to center, and 27.9 percent to the opposite field.
There are plenty of reasons why the Cubs sputtered in September last year, but Baez logging just one plate appearance after Sept. 1 because of a thumb injury was a huge one. They feed off his offense, defense and overall energy.
This offseason, Baez and the Cubs avoided arbitration on a one-year, $10 million deal. Before the MLB shutdown, he and the Cubs were reportedly close to a long-term contract extension.
Baez is much more likely than a new contract for the team’s other stars like Bryant or Rizzo. A canceled 2020 campaign would not stop the service time clock on players, meaning the Cubs could lose a year of control over their big leaguers. Baez showed no lingering issues with the thumb this spring, hitting .462 with three homers, six RBI and a 3/4 K/BB ratio.