Is it possible Tigers’ Javier Báez is actually a left-handed hitter?

Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez bats left handed during spring training at TigerTown
Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez bats left handed during spring training at TigerTown / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

If you're a Detroit Tigers fan who still sees light at the end of the tunnel for Javier Báez, then news that he spent the entire offseason continuing to train in Puerto Rico might've made that light seem a little brighter. If you're part of the majority, who wrote Báez off years ago, perhaps even before he ever landed with the Tigers, then you might be seeing Báez's place in the lineup as a veritable black hole.

But let's give Báez the benefit of the doubt for a second. He did have a short resurgence with the Mets over 47 games, despite a cold reception at Citi Field in 2021. He hit .265/.319/.494 in Queens before signing with the Tigers in free agency for 2022. His OBP has never been great, even when he was at the height of his powers in Chicago, but if the work will help him at least connect with the ball more than he has over the last two seasons in Detroit, it'll be good for the team.

At Tigers spring training in Lakeland, Báez was spotted taking left-handed at-bats during BP, even making decent contact at times. Was he just clowning around a little, or could he be taking an extra-experimental approach to things this upcoming season?

Javier Báez takes left-handed swings during BP at Detroit Tigers spring training

Báez is actually a natural lefty who adapted to the right so that he could move the ball between his hands faster when he's defending. He also batted as a switch-hitter throughout high school before permanently moving to the right side. Because of Báez's struggles at the plate, it's easy to forget that he's still a proficient defender. Maybe, adjusting his approach to go back to his natural side will unlock something new. Anything's worth a try, right?

He's taken a couple of major league at-bats from the left side as well. Granted, they were against position players during blowout games, but that's not nothing. The Tigers will play their first spring training games this weekend, and we'll likely see Báez get at least a couple of at-bats during that time. This lefty switch will only really raise eyebrows if he continues to do it throughout spring training, but — again — literally anything is worth a try if it means he won't just be an easy out for opposing pitchers.