Javier Baez
Javier Baez
28-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Chicago Cubs
2021 Fantasy Outlook
With poor plate skills, Baez has always had detractors, but even his staunchest naysayers couldn't have envisioned the depths to which he sunk last year. His already poor walk and strikeout rates worsened. He was always able to compensate with a high BABIP, but a drop in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrels torpedoed his 2020 mark over 80 points from recent seasons. The result was Mario Mendoza with a bit of pop. Baez's hit distribution was along his career lines; he just didn't hit the ball with his usual authority. There's no telling how much of Baez's struggles were a sample-size anomaly or due to the unique conditions last summer. An extended track record of success, even with deficiencies, is more reliable than two months in trying conditions. Baez's draft cost will no doubt reflect the poor season, but that paves the way for a significant return on investment for those less risk-averse. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#72
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $11.65 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2021.
Launches 16th home run
SSChicago Cubs
June 17, 2021
Baez went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run during Thursday's win over the Mets.
ANALYSIS
Baez got the scoring started early by taking Marcus Stroman deep in the first inning. Although it's been a slow month and he is batting .232/.269/.478 overall the season, Baez still leads the Cubs with 16 long balls and 44 RBI.
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Batting Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
21
1
6
12
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
1
12
3
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+11%
OPS vs LHP
2021
 
 
+10%
OPS vs RHP
2020
 
 
+24%
OPS vs LHP
2019
 
 
+18%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019vs Left .833 216 44 14 30 12 .254 .306 .528
Since 2019vs Right .752 798 105 38 121 10 .252 .283 .469
2021vs Left .690 51 10 4 6 4 .174 .255 .435
2021vs Right .761 187 24 12 38 5 .247 .273 .489
2020vs Left .693 53 7 2 7 0 .224 .264 .429
2020vs Right .560 162 19 5 15 2 .195 .228 .331
2019vs Left .966 112 27 8 17 8 .304 .348 .618
2019vs Right .818 449 62 21 68 3 .275 .307 .510
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+5%
OPS at Home
2021
 
 
+11%
OPS at Home
2020
 
 
+60%
OPS on Road
2019
 
 
+22%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019Home .788 528 80 27 79 12 .258 .297 .491
Since 2019Away .749 501 70 26 73 11 .246 .277 .472
2021Home .786 121 21 10 24 6 .235 .273 .513
2021Away .705 117 13 6 20 3 .229 .265 .440
2020Home .475 129 12 2 7 1 .167 .217 .258
2020Away .762 101 15 6 16 2 .247 .267 .495
2019Home .933 278 47 15 48 5 .309 .345 .588
2019Away .762 283 42 14 37 6 .253 .286 .476
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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 2019 data (min 400 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.
  • BABIP
    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/K
0.09
 
BB Rate
3.4%
 
K Rate
38.5%
 
BABIP
.308
 
ISO
.236
 
AVG
.232
 
OBP
.269
 
SLG
.468
 
OPS
.737
 
wOBA
.321
 
Exit Velocity
81.2 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
31.1%
 
Barrels/PA
9.8%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
Games By Position
Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Javier Baez
Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: deGrom Dodges Bullet
3 days ago
Jeff Stotts writes that Mets Ace Jacob deGrom might have dodged a bullet with his diagnosis of flexor tendinitis and should make his Wednesday start.
MLB Barometer: Risers & Fallers
4 days ago
Erik Halterman takes a look at this week's risers and fallers, leading off with Vladimir Guerrero, who's leading the league with 21 homers and sits tied for second with a .344 average.
Bernie on the Scene: Scouting Reports on Recently Promoted Players
18 days ago
Bernie Pleskoff analyzes prospects who have been recently called up, including Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah.
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23 days ago
Joe Sheehan shifts gears and goes with a player prop-centric approach for Wednesday's card, including a look at Javier Baez as he gets set to face Wil Crowe and the Pirates.
Bernie on the Scene: Starting Pitcher Trade Targets
32 days ago
Bernie Pleskoff analyzes starting pitchers worth trading for, including Milwaukee's Freddy Peralta.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
Baez is an established star in MLB; he is a two-time All-Star and was the NL MVP runner-up in 2018. But is he a good second- or third-round fantasy draft pick in 2020? He missed most of September with a left thumb injury and was not a top-40 fantasy hitter in 2019. His K-rate ticked back up to 27.8%, which was the eighth-worst mark among qualified hitters. Baez has shown he can hit for a good-to-great average even with his swing-and-miss issues, as he's never hit below .273 in a full season, but there's always a chance the variance pendulum swings to the other side and we get a sub-.260 season. It's important to note that his efficiency on the basepaths took a hit, with Baez going 11-for-18 on SB attempts (61%) after going 21-for-30 in 2018 (70%). There's no doubt he'll play every day, but there are safer and arguably better options in his price range.
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.
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
Cranks 15th homer
SSChicago Cubs
June 15, 2021
Baez went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run during Tuesday's loss to the Mets.
ANALYSIS
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Back in lineup Tuesday
SSChicago Cubs
June 15, 2021
Baez (thumb) is batting third and playing shortstop Tuesday against the Mets.
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Expects to return Tuesday
SSChicago Cubs
Thumb
June 14, 2021
Baez (thumb) expects to be available off the bench Monday against the Mets and hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday, Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
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Remains sidelined
SSChicago Cubs
Thumb
June 14, 2021
Baez (thumb) remains out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Mets.
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Scratched with thumb issue
SSChicago Cubs
Thumb
June 13, 2021
Manager David Ross said Baez was scratched from Sunday's lineup against the Cardinals because of thumb soreness, Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reports.
ANALYSIS
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