The Detroit Tigers’ shortstop is finally showing signs of improvement
Needless to say, it’s been a very disappointing first year with the Detroit Tigers for Javier Baez. He has not lived up the $20 million that he will make this season. But the month of September has been much better for the 29-year-old.
Coming into this month, Baez was slashing .223/.267/.362 with a .629 OPS and 11 home runs. He’s upped those numbers considerably thanks to a September slash line of .379/.410/.638 with a 1.048 OPS and three homers. He’s also upped his bWAR to 2.4, and if he keeps it up, he could get his fWAR above 2 as well.
Some fans might read this and think, “too little, too late,” and that’s a very fair argument. The fact that he is just now performing well at the plate, when the Tigers are long out of contention, is pretty deflating. But this is by far the best he’s hit all season.
In fact, he’s been much better in the second half of the season overall. He’s slashed .286/.332/.424 since the All-Star break, compared to .213/.251/.375 pre-All-Star break. He’s been much closer to the player the Detroit Tigers thought they were getting.
Now has his defense improved? Not really—quite the opposite in fact. He currently leads the majors in errors with 26. His errant throwing arm is a massive issue, one that might prompt a position change, though the Tigers haven’t said anything regarding that.
If the Tigers can get more of this Javier Baez as opposed to the one that had an awful first half of the season, that would obviously be huge for them going into 2023. It still may be best for the team long term if he pops off next year and exercises his opt-out, but that seems unlikely.
Seeing Baez finally play well is one of the few silver linings the Tigers can take from this awful season. If he can at least be competent at the plate, it’ll make the throwing errors more tolerable.
The Detroit Tigers are likely stuck with Javy Baez for the next five seasons. We’re going to have to take the bad with the good with him. There hasn’t been a lot of good this year, but this month’s performance is encouraging. Hopefully he can keep it up.