PHILADELPHIA — It took infielder Javy Baez the entire minor league season before getting his return shot at the Cubs’ big league roster. And given what he’s done even in a brief glimpse since the start of the month, he’s looking like a near-lock for the playoff roster.
“Of course, you have to consider him, no doubt,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Just for his glove if anything. He’s had good at-bats, but what he’s done defensively has been pretty spectacular, and you can’t walk away from that either, man.”
Baez has made highlight-reel plays in starts at second, shortstop and third base since his Sept. 1 recall – giving Maddon high-level flexibility with his September lineups.
As multiple scouts have said throughout the year, Baez has looked in the last week and a half like the Cubs’ best defensive infielder, including the strongest shortstop arm.
“All those different items play,” Maddon said.
Since his recall, Baez is 8-for-25 (.320) with two walks and three extra-base hits — including doubles into left field and right field in consecutive at-bats Tuesday against Cardinals ace Michael Wacha. He has struck out six times in eight games.
During his two-month debut last year, Baez struggled to hit .169 — striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats. He hit nine homers.