I’ve found myself in the last few days getting into “friendly discussions” with baseball fans from all walks of life regarding who is worthy of winning the NL MVP this season. We all agreed to put our biases aside to try and have a rational conversation revolving around a pool of candidates that we would either support (or deny) based off a variety of categories.
Very quickly, I was defending myself from the saber metrics nerd crew. I’m not opposed to the new age statistics that have driven many baseball teams to make important player decisions but I’m also a firm believer that statistics can only tell so much about a player. I was beat over the head with stat after stat after stat comparing players in every aspect of the game. On paper, Javier Baez would probably come in third or fourth in the MVP balloting but thankfully the votes are not cast solely off of numbers.
Don’t get me wrong, Baez’s numbers are pretty goddamn impressive. He ranks in the top ten is damn near every offensive category yet I keep hearing how his low OBP will hinder his case as the MVP (I’m looking at you Buster Olney.)
While his offensive numbers speak for themselves, what I think separates him from other candidates is his defensive versatility and “wow” factor. Yes, I understand the MVP doesn’t have to be nearly as flashy as a player like Baez but let’s be honest here — would you rather watch Javier Baez or Matt Carpenter play baseball?
I rest my case.
Baez went on ESPN 1000 today on the Waddle and Silvy show and shared his top memory as a Chicago Cub. One would think that the decision would be relatively difficult because he has so many great memories to choose from, but El Mago didn’t hesitate when he was asked the question.
Baez top memory? His HR v Cueto in 2016: “I crushed that ball.”
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 9, 2018
In case you somehow cannot recall what home run ball Baez is talking about, allow me to refresh your memory.
That still gives me chills.
The crazy thing about this home run is that if you watch it again, the ball was absoluetly crushed so Baez pimped the hell out of it. However, with the wind howling in, the ball only ended up in the basket. How funny (or terrifying) would it have been watching him pimp that ball only to see it bounce off the top of the wall for probably the longest single in MLB history?
Thank you Mr. Basket for catching that ball.
The 2016 postseason was Javy’s official coming out party as he would go on to share the MVP award of the NLCS with Jon Lester. It also needs to be mentioned that the Cubs won the 2016 World Series in case you forgot.
If this season is any indication of how Baez’s career will be in Chicago, it’s safe to say he’ll have plenty of memories to choose from in the future.