With the Cubs up 12-5 Thursday night, Javy Báez turned around to bat lefty and mashed an eephus pitch high into the Cincinnati evening at 89.5 mph. The unbridled violence of his swing was impressive, even if the resulting pop fly was slightly less so.
A natural lefty, Javy gave up swinging from that side in high school after it began to aggravate his hip. He’ll still bust it out from time to time during BP, but this was the first time he’d dared turn around in an actual game. But with the Cubs up big and a position player pitching, his manager encouraged him to have a little fun.
“At first, I was scared,” Báez said afterward. “I think last time I faced a position player, I was close to doing it and Joe was like, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah. Do it.’ I didn’t want to do it, because I didn’t know how it was going to be. Tonight, everybody was like, ‘Yo, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.’ And I asked Joe, and he’s like, ‘Yep, you’ve got to do it.'”
Although the Cubs have several left-handed sluggers — Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber, and Ian Happ — maybe they could use another. After all, you can never have too many power-hitting lefties. Just look at Javy’s swing, folks. I mean, c’mon…
Small samples be damned, Javy’s exit velocity as a left-handed hitter is actually greater than 69% of all MLB hitters. That’s pretty nice. Just for the sake of reference, here’s the complete list of players with an average exit velocity lower than the World’s Most Exciting Switch-Hitter.