The MVP talk is starting to heat up and somehow Javier Baez finds himself right in the middle of it. You look in every direction of any Chicago sports media, Baez is there. He is exceeding most expectations of his young career thus far this season but is it good enough to be the NL MVP?
Some would say no. Polls are out there, many are not choosing him. It could be that Freddie Freeman is also having a great season and the Braves are in the middle of a playoff race. Matt Carpenter has come on strong since the All-Star break and is probably the hottest hitter in the major leagues right now. Baez is having a great season, but may still be lacking in a few departments.
Baez leads the National League in RBIs, he’s 8th in home runs with 25, while hovering around .300 batting average all season long. Baez also happens to be 7th in the league in stolen bases with 19. All this while being an absolute monster defensively night in and night out. Though being an MVP it is much deeper than just a few stats and defensive highlights, his versatility to play multiple positions this season has helped the Cubs battle through injuries, including one to a former N.L. MVP Kris Bryant. In similar fashion, Bryant played all over the field in his MVP campaign.
Here is Baez’ advantage over others. He plays three infield positions. Second, short and third as good as anyone out there. Freeman and others, who mind you are very good at what they do, play just the one position. Baez’ combination of power, speed and elite defense at several positions isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence around the league.
Baez is the most valuable player on the Cubs and they are the best team in the National League right now. So it seems like he should be at the top of the list. Ok, I know that may have been a bit biased, though. In all reality, when the race comes to a close. Javier Baez should be in the conversation and his efforts should not get lost.