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It's Time to Move Javy Down in the Order

You love Javy. I get it. He's maybe the most popular player on the Cubs since Sammy Sosa--even moreso than Anthony Rizzo, and he's the guy we call the Captain! While Kris Bryant spent the better part of his first five years with the squad quietly being the best player on the team, everyone fell in love with Javy. That said, Javy is struggling, y'all. It's like the thing no one on the Cubs interwebs really wants to talk about. Just how bad has Javy's season been so far?

Well, currently Javy is sporting a 61 wRC+ with a .617 OPS and a .202 batting average. That wRC+ is good for 5th worst in the majors among qualified hitters according to FanGraphs. The only other qualifying Cub with a wRC+ under 100 is Willson Contreras at 81 wRC+ (this is also not good). Javy gave us a little spurt during the Tigers series, but then fizzled again against the Reds. What I'm saying is that Javier Baez, for whatever reason, has been painfully unproductive and it's hurting the team to keep him in the middle of the order. (And before you ask, Jason Heyward is currently sporting a tremendous 156 wRC+. Go apologize for those negative thoughts!)

So what's the deal? Well, as you've probably figured out already, Javy's striking out even more than usual. Baez's career K% sits at 28.3%, but so far in 2020 he's striking out at an untenable 34.9% clip. And really, that seems to be the main crux of his problem--he's just not making contact. Even on balls he's putting in play, he's been fairly unlucky with a .278 BABIP indicating he's not getting much return on his contact. His barrel % is also down from the last two years at 10.4% versus last season's 12.5%.

The bottom line is that Javy's plate discipline has regressed closer to where it was when he first came up in 2014/15, and it's hard to justify giving him so many at bats until he starts to find his way. It's not a matter of pride or respect at this point, but what's best for the team.


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