To say that Javier Baez was a disappointing free agency acquisition was an understatement. During the offseason leading into 2022, the Detroit Tigers signed free agent shortstop Javier Baez to a 6-year $140 million contract. Baez rewarded the Tigers‘ faith by objectively being one of the worst everyday players in the MLB in 2022. His final numbers of .238 Avg. 17HR 67RBI are not at all impressive, however they don’t even tell the story of how bad Baez was.
Strikeouts and Errors
When evaluating Baez, people often look to his strikeouts and his errors in the field. He struck out 147 times and he committed 26 errors in the field. However, these metrics do not tell the full story of Javier Baez
In my opinion, strikeouts are not the worst thing in the world. Sure, I would have preferred for Baez to make more consistent contact, but strikeouts are not really much different from groundouts or flyouts. Outs are bad no matter how you get them.
Javier Baez may have led the MLB in errors with 26, however he still had a positive defensive WAR at 0.3. He was not nearly as bad of a defender as people say. Even if he was, that’s not even close to the biggest reason why Baez was so terrible in 2022.
On Base Percentage
The biggest issue with Javier Baez is that he did not get on base. He finished the 2022 season with a horrific on base percentage of .278. Baez’s .278 On Base Percentage ranked 63rd out of a possible 65 qualified position players in the American League.
Javier Baez did not hit the ball well at all this season finishing with a batting average of .238. Furthermore, he walked only 26 times all season which is not nearly enough. Baez is one of the most free-swinging aggressive hitters in the MLB. He would have been much better off taking more pitches. The problem was not that Baez struck out too much, it’s that he didn’t get on base nearly enough to be a winning player.
OPS is an acronym for on-base plus slugging. This is a metric that takes into account a hitter’s power along with his ability to get on base. Javier Baez finished the season with a .671 OPS. Baez’s .671 OPS ranked 58th out of a possible 65 position players in the American League in OPS.
The obvious conclusion that can be taken from this is that Javier Baez did not get on base. However, this could have been mitigated a bit if Javier Baez had put up better power numbers. He only hit 17 home runs in 2022 which was 14 less home runs than he hit in 2021.
Javier Baez was one of the worst everyday players in the MLB in 2022. It had nothing to do with his strikeouts and errors. Above all, it had everything to do with the fact that he did not get on base and hit for very little power. In baseball, when you’re not getting on base, you’re making outs Unfortunately, the only thing he did consistently in 2022 was make outs.
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