CHICAGO (CBS) — Instead of opening up the vault for superstar free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, the Cubs are banking on a repeat performance from MVP runner-up Javier Baez.
Baez is visibly bigger, he says due to more conditioning this offseason. He posted career highs in RBIs, homers and stolen bases in 2018. So what is his focus this year?
“I am just trying to get more walks. Obviously people are talking about my walks and strikeouts,” Baez said. “It’s only going to make me better if I walk more.”
The big talk in camp is more leadership from the team. Baez wants to be called out if he doesn’t do things right.
“Last year I didn’t run full speed to first base, and I used to get back to the dugout and nobody would say anything,” Baez explained. “This year, I’m sure if I don’t do it, someone hopefully will say something. It’s not to show you up. It’s to make the team better.”
Baez can’t surprise anymore, the baseball world knows what he can do. The biggest challenge for him this season will be to duplicate that incredible success now that everyone expects it from him.