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Comparing Javier Báez to other Detroit Tigers

Shortstop Javier Baez smiles after hitting a home run. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Shortstop Javier Baez smiles after hitting a home run. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers Javier Báez Speed Comp: Niko Goodrum

Detroit Tigers
Niko Goodrum slides safely into third base. Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers haven’t exactly been known for their speedy, aggressive play over the past decade. Last year Robbie Grossman became just the fifth Tigers player to steal 20 bases in a season since 2010, and the first to do it since 2015.

Niko Goodrum’s run with the Detroit Tigers probably won’t be remembered particularly fondly, if it is remembered at all, but he consistently showed above-average speed, and was a deft baserunner who was a legitimate threat to steal a bag.

That a pretty accurate representation of Javier Báez on the bases, too. Neither he nor Goodrum are game-changing speed merchants like Trea Turner, or, to pluck a name from Tigers history, Quintin Berry, but both provide above-average value with their legs.

Javier Báez has stolen 53 bases on 74 tries since 2018, a decent 71.6 success rate, and according to FanGraphs’ BsR metric, he’s been an above-average runner in every season except 2020. Báez’s sprint speed also took a small dip in 2020, but he’s been an impressive runner for the rest of his career, including in 2021, when he ranked in the 86th percentile.

And, for what it’s worth, Javier Báez is one of the most entertaining base runners in the game. He consistently shows remarkable body control to evade tags when throws beat him, and he also manages to look pretty darn cool while doing it.

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