Javy Baez transformed into an MVP-caliber player in part by successfully altering his pre-pitch mechanics last spring. He moved from a somewhat closed crouch to a more upright and relaxed stance. This year, Javy intends to walk more by modifying his mindset at the dish.
1) Javy Baez spoke with reporters for the first time this spring. Couple highlights: Unprompted he said he wants to walk more this year. Usually he has to be asked about that. Most interesting was a leadership thing.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 19, 2019
Baez walking more sounds great, but he had his best season yet in 2018 by actually embracing his nature as an aggressive hitter who isn’t afraid to go outside the zone. Javy’s 45.5 percent outside-zone swing rate last season was the highest of his career (average 43.7 percent).
That said, if Javy intends to see more pitches without sacrificing his aggressive approach, sign me up. We’ve heard Theo Epstein talk about “selective aggressiveness” ever since he took over the Cubs organization. Baez adopting that kind of approach could, in theory, reduce poorly-batted balls and increase chances to hit better pitches.