2 Detroit Tigers players who hurt their cause in the WBC and 1 who helped it
One player who helped their cause: SS Javier Baez
If there's one place you can expect Javier Baez to perform, it's playing for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, and that was the case once again in 2023. In 19 at-bats, Baez hit .368 with one homer, three doubles and an OPS of 1.052.
He also played some pretty good defense. He played second base for Team PR with Francisco Lindor playing shortstop, but he made some nice plays. He also made a nice play at shortstop for the Tigers in yesterday's spring training game against the Blue Jays.
His spring training performance at the plate for the Tigers has been less than ideal. In 22 at-bats, he's hitting just .136 and has just three hits. He has yet to draw a walk. He didn't draw a walk in the WBC either, so that means he hasn't walked in 41 combined at-bats this spring. I know it's spring training and not walking is just part of Javy's game, but come on, man.
Regardless of my frustration with his plate approach, it was nice to see him perform well in the WBC. You can tell he really enjoys himself when he plays in that tournament.
Baez needs to have a good season in 2023 for a couple of reasons. He needs to prove that last year was just a fluke. His second half was a decent indication that it was. But perhaps more importantly, he has an opt-out in his contract after this season. Part of me thinks he stays unless he has a 6-WAR season or higher, but it would be wise for him to not have a repeat of last season if wants one last pay day.