Cubs Quick Hits: Javy Baez’s Contact Rate Is Way Up
Have you noticed that Javy Baez is striking out significantly less over the last month? El Mago has only struck out once every five trips to the plate (20.8 percent) over his last 120 plate appearances, better than league average by roughly 2 percent. And we can take that as a legit sample because data nerds suggest a player is most responsible for his strikeout rate after about 100 plate appearances.
Yup, Javy is striking out less and making much more contact. During the same stretch noted above, he’s made contact on 75.5 percent of all pitches and 89.3 percent of pitches inside the strike zone. I cannot stress how remarkable this is, folks. Javy is making essentially league-average overall contact and above league-average zone-contact (4 percent more than average).
He had a similar stretch earlier in the season, but it wasn’t as consistent, as shown in the below graph.
Unlike in the case of Addison Russell, who has also increased his zone contact, the quality of Javy’s contact hasn’t suffered despite whiffing less. Javy has posted a 1.054 OPS and a .342 ISO, both well above his career marks, over the stretch in question.
Simply put: Javy is reaching his ceiling and it’s wonderful to see.