Javier Baez
Javier Baez
26-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
It may have been tough to envision Baez having an MVP-caliber campaign in 2018, but that’s exactly what occurred, as he made major strides in the contact department and finished among the best hitters in fantasy baseball. Mainly a super utility player before last year, Baez played in 160 games and piled up a career-high 606 at-bats. The added opportunities helped him set career bests in every category. His patience actually got worse (5.9 BB% to 4.5 BB%), but he still got to his prodigious power with ease, increasing his extra-base hit total from 49 to 83 while leading the NL in RBI. He was one of five players to hit .290 with 30-plus HR and 20-plus SB. Manager Joe Maddon likes shuffling his infielders, so Baez may not have a regular home on the diamond again in 2019. However, if Addison Russell struggles again, Baez should once again retain eligibility at shortstop in addition to second base. He figures to hold down a regular spot in the middle of the order. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $5.2 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Hits 23rd home run
SSChicago Cubs
July 19, 2019
Baez went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored in Friday's 6-5 win over the Padres.
Baez continues to have another productive campaign, as he's now up to 23 home runs and 64 RBI through 95 games. While those numbers are in line with last season's stats, the 26-year-old has been noticeably less active on the basepaths, with only five steals this year compared to 21 in 2018.
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Batting Stats
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
Since 2017vs Left .985 352 64 25 76 9 .320 .366 .618
Since 2017vs Right .815 1212 178 56 177 27 .275 .310 .506
2019vs Left 1.182 74 18 8 14 2 .358 .405 .776
2019vs Right .815 337 48 16 53 3 .278 .306 .509
2018vs Left .933 145 28 8 30 6 .306 .359 .575
2018vs Right .865 500 73 26 81 15 .286 .317 .549
2017vs Left .934 133 18 9 32 1 .315 .353 .581
2017vs Right .747 375 57 14 43 9 .258 .304 .443
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2017Home .842 780 125 38 122 25 .281 .315 .527
Since 2017Away .864 784 117 43 131 11 .289 .330 .534
2019Home .933 215 35 12 38 3 .309 .340 .593
2019Away .819 196 31 12 29 2 .273 .306 .513
2018Home .798 313 45 13 46 14 .270 .298 .500
2018Away .959 332 56 21 65 7 .310 .352 .606
2017Home .819 252 45 13 38 8 .272 .315 .504
2017Away .775 256 30 10 37 2 .274 .319 .456
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Stat Review
How does Javier Baez compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against this season's data (min 200 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB Rate
K Rate
Exit Velocity
91.4 mph
Hard Hit Rate
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Baez took another step forward at the plate last season, setting new career-highs in homers (23), runs (75), RBI (75) and slugging percentage (.480) while topping 500 plate appearances for the first time in his big-league career. The knock on him has always been the volume of swing-and-miss in his game, and while that remained an issue in 2017 (28.3 strikeout percentage), he showed a more discerning eye and drew walks at 5.9 percent clip. In order to take another step forward at the plate, Baez needs to improve his swinging-strike rate after he ranked second among qualified MLB hitters (19.2 percent) in 2017. Defensively, he's an above-average option at both middle-infield spots, and he spent more time than usual at shortstop last season while Addison Russell was on the shelf due to injury. A slight drop in playing time could occur in 2018 if Russell is healthy, leaving Baez to start regularly against lefties and part-time against righties as the Cubs mix and match at the keystone.
Baez became a fixture in the Cubs' lineup in 2016, showing an improved eye (career-low 24.0 percent strikeout rate) and punishing left-handed pitching at a .311/.375/.475 clip. Thanks to his excellent defensive work, Baez emerged as a regular against righties, and while his .258/.288/.401 split line leaves plenty of room for improvement, he dropped his strikeout rate (v. RHP) from 31.7 percent in 2015 to 26.4 percent last season. Still only 24 years old, Baez has the tools necessary to become an elite offensive contributor in the middle infield. Although he struggled during the World Series, Baez's performance in the NLCS garnered MVP honors in that series, and his home run in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants helped spark the team's run to its first World Series title since 1908. With further improvement to his plate discipline, Baez could approach 20 homers and 20 steals in 2017, even if he's technically in a utility role to open the season.
After hitting an embarrassing .169 with 95 strikeouts in 213 at-bats in his first major league season in 2014, it wasn't shocking that Baez started 2015 in the minors. While his 76:21 K:BB in 281 at-bats with Triple-A Iowa was no great shakes, it was an improvement over what he showed in 2014. More importantly, management felt he was ready for a return engagement in the majors, and he played nearly every day over the last month of the season. Strangely, the power-hitting infielder hit just one home run in 76 at-bats with the Cubs (though he had one more in the postseason), but he batted .289 and played all over the infield. Starlin Castro is out of the picture, but the Cubs signed Ben Zobrist to anchor the top of the lineup, so Baez's outlook remains cloudy. That said, he is too talented not to be valued as a strong middle-infield option in drafts, though owners will need to be patient as the playing time sorts itself out.
Baez struggled in his two-month stint with the Cubs in 2014, hitting just .169 with a whopping 95 strikeouts in 213 at-bats, but he's still the frontrunner to win the job at second base this spring. Baez blasted seven home runs in his first 19 games with the Cubs, but he only hit two more in his next 33 games. Still, with 69 home runs and 41 stolen bases in the last two years, the 22-year-old Baez has the potential to be a special big leaguer - provided that he can get his bat on the ball. With Starlin Castro at short, Baez at second, and Addison Russell waiting in the wings, the Cubs have an embarrassment of riches in the middle infield, and that doesn't even include Arismendy Alcantara, who can play multiple positions. The Cubs optioned Baez to Triple-A Iowa in March, as he struggled to improve his approach during Cactus League play. If he rakes upon returning to the PCL, Baez could quickly push his way back into the starting job at second base for the Cubs.
Although there are a lot of good contenders for the honor, Baez is the brightest jewel in the Cubs' minor league system. After mastering High-A Daytona with 17 home runs in 299 at-bats, he was even better with Double-A Tennessee, finishing with 20 home runs and 54 RBI in just 218 at-bats. Oh, and he totaled 20 stolen bases at the two levels for good measure. The 2011 first-rounder is just 21, but he already appears to be ready for the majors – aside from that unpleasant 40:147 BB:K ratio last year – and with Starlin Castro struggling to hit at the big-league level, Baez could be pushing the incumbent shortstop as early as this season.
The ninth overall pick in the 2011 first-year player draft, Baez broke out in 213 Low-A at-bats with a .333/.383/.596 line. He also stole 20 bases and was caught only three times. The 19-year-old (he turned 20 on December 1) didn't fare as well at High-A, with a .644 OPS in 80 at-bats, and he drew only 14 walks in 293 combined at-bats at both levels. He also missed much of the Arizona Fall League with a broken thumb. Nonetheless, he's expected to be ready for spring training and should move through the team's system quickly. Because Starlin Castro is entrenched at shortstop, Baez might have to slide over to third base (something with which the team experimented in the AFL before he got hurt). But the team still prefers Baez as a shortstop, so it's a problem they'll have to work out when he gets to the majors, probably in 2014.
The ninth overall pick in last year's draft, Baez projects as a power-hitting infielder who can steal a base and hit for average. With Starlin Castro presumably having the shortstop position locked down in Chicago for years to come, Baez is likely to shift over to third base. Expect the 19-year-old to get a taste of Low-A this year and move through the team's system rapidly if he's up to the task.
More Fantasy News
Doubles twice with two RBI
SSChicago Cubs
July 6, 2019
Baez went 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and two RBI in a 6-3 win over the White Sox on Saturday.
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Has three hits, homers Wednesday
SSChicago Cubs
July 4, 2019
Baez went 3-for-5 with a solo home run in Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Pirates.
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Pops 21st home run in blowout loss
SSChicago Cubs
July 1, 2019
Baez went 2-for-5 with a solo home run in Monday's 18-5 loss to the Pirates.
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Sitting Sunday as expected
SSChicago Cubs
June 30, 2019
Baez is not in the lineup for Sunday's game at Cincinnati.
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Lifts grand slam in win
SSChicago Cubs
June 29, 2019
Baez went 1-for-4 with an grand slam in Saturday's 6-0 win over the Reds.
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