Jon Lester loved Kris Bryant’s defense over at first Sunday night, as Anthony Rizzo was out of the lineup because of back tightness. Yet, Bryant and Lester don’t agree on one thing.
Is Javier Báez hot?
The Cubs shortstop has started all 38 games this season and is slashing .323/.360/.627, with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs. Báez leads the team with 52 hits and has the highest batting average, most HRs and the highest slugging %.
In the past week he’s 10-for-28 (.357), with four doubles, three RBIs, three walks and two runs scored. In the month of May, Báez is 17-for-45 (.378), with two home runs, seven doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
So, you know, he’s been really good. But is he hot?
Cubs beat reporter for MLB.com, Jordan Bastian, got the full response from both Bryant and Lester.
I’m gonna go with Kris Bryant on this one, but Lester isn’t totally off here. While Báez is putting up better numbers so far this year compared to the same time through 2018, we have seen him go on complete tears before where it seems that every one of his hits goes for extra bases. But again, he’s been either the best or second best hitter on the Cubs since the start of the year, so yeah, pretty hot.
The difference has to be that at the start of 2018, it seemed like Báez was doing it all for the Cubs. While it was trending like that for a bit this April, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have stepped up big time for the past month and Willson Contreras has the highest OPS and wRC+ on the team.
So, maybe it’s just not as obvious this year that Báez is hot for Lester because there are three other players who are also hot at the same time and that’s great for the Cubs.