The Chicago Cubs managed to break the Curse of the Billy Goat last season with the help of significant contributions from its young core of home-grown talent. Near the top of that list is infielder Javier Baez.
Baez regularly sees himself on late-night highlight reels due to his impressive abilities in the field. With his star on the rise, it was only a matter of time before he appeared on the cover of the famed ESPN’s Body Issue.
Countless athletes have graced the cover of the magazine. Baez is hoping to become another list of great players across many disciplines to enjoy Hall of Fame careers. If he’s going to do that, though, he’ll have to improve with the bat in his hands.
Baez, for as much as a star as he has become, hasn’t posted numbers that are indicative of someone who should be on the cover of magazines. This season, he’s hitting .249 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI’s. That’s a significant improvement in his power numbers, as his previous season high was 14. But they’ve come at the expense of his discipline at the plate, and consequentially his batting average.
Baez has already struck out 51 times this year, and his approach isn’t showing signs of improving. In the month of June alone he’s gone down on strikes 13 times and is only hitting .225.
Let’s hope his appearance on the cover of ESPN leads to some commercial options for him. Because if he doesn’t figure out how to have more success in his fourth year in the Major Leagues, his time in the spotlight might be short-lived.