Javier Baez, the Detroit Tigers’ free agent, is currently going through a massive recession.
When the Detroit Tigers signed free agent Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million off-season contract, many fans were skeptical. His high hitting rate and low walking rate, as well as his extremely aggressive style on the plates, have fans worried about his long-term survival.
We’re here 115 games into this decade, and after a hot start, Baez hit an offensive wall. It currently cuts .211/.252/.321 with only two homers and a wRC+ of 69.
Baez has always been a scented player, but he’s never really struggled like that. His strike rate is below the career average at 23.5%, but both his chase rate and his whiff rate are in the first percentile among MLB hitters according to Baseball Savant, indicating more strikes to come.
But what Baez is particularly concerned about is the recurring globes. His Globe average is the highest in his career at 54.9%, while his Globe average is the lowest in his career at 29.3%. Its average launch angle is only 7 degrees.
Ground balls and low firing angle have been an issue for all of the Tigers players so far, but players like Jeimer Candelario and Jonathan Schoop have recently started driving the ball more, and are finally starting to see results. If there’s one player the Tigers shouldn’t worry about driving the ball, it’s Baez.
He wasn’t even hitting the ball hard. Last season, he was in the 74th percentile for the hardest hit average and 85 percent for the barrel average. This season, it’s down to 28 and 54, respectively. So what is the agreement?
Recently, AJ Hinch said that Baez was in a drag situation due to these difficulties.
This is achieved most of the time. His pull rate is definitely higher than his career average, but he’s been a strong man for the past two years heading into 2022. Baez has been rolling the ball at an alarming rate.
So what is the ruling? Should we be worried about Javier Baez? Is he just a victim of Scott Culpo?
Here’s the thing: As we touched on earlier, Baez has always been a sweaty player. It has always tended to start hot in April, have a rough May, the hottest back up in June and July, then slow down again in August and September. Keep that in mind.
But the constant inversions are getting very old, real fast. Last night against the Tampa Bay Rays, for example, Baez came to the racket in the eighth inning with a one-way and bases were loaded, only rebounding in a double-ended game.
The Tigers were down 6-1 in this instance, and if Bayes could find a gap, it would have put them back in the match. The Tigers signed Baez into that offshore deal in part to be a mid-bat-at-the-system bat, and now he’s far from it.
The Tigers need Javier Baez to start working again. The team is clearly much better when it hits its short star well. For now, however, keep the level of interest to a minimum.
Bayes is clearly frustrated with how things are going, but we’ve seen this countless times throughout his career. It will start again. But for now, we just have to ride the wave.