After a 2021 season in which the Tigers went 77-85, The Tigers signed star shortstop Javier Baez to a six-year, 140 million dollar deal. Baez is known for his defensive prowess and aggressive play style. The biggest weakness in his game is his discipline at the plate. With the Mets in 2021, Baez had 50 hits, 22 RBI, and 32 runs in 167 at-bats. A signing of that magnitude is always expected to pay off, but Javy has had a roller-coaster tenure in Detroit thus far. However, after a historically bad start in 2023, Baez has turned it around in Detroit and has helped the Tigers to a second-place rise in the AL Central, a major surprise to many fans.
To begin the 2023 season, Baez was getting prepared for his second season as a Tiger. Team expectations were low, but a lot was expected of a player like Baez who is due 20 million dollars a season until 2026. Unfortunately, Baez started off the 2023 season in a historically bad fashion. He began the season batting .122 with three walks and eight strikeouts in the first 12 games. His situation hit a new low when he was benched after a horrible baserunning mistake against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he forgot how many outs were left in the third inning. A start like this is never one any Tigers fan wants to see, especially with the money the organization is paying him.
Recently, Javy seems to have found his way after the very disgraceful benching. Now, he is one of the best players on the roster and a leader to the young guys. Through 47 games, Javy is now averaging an improved .243 with 42 hits and 34 RBI. His fielding has been amongst the best in the MLB, but that has always been his strong suit. Baez has also looked more comfortable at the plate. Usually undisciplined, he has improved that aspect of his game and looks to be taking fewer strikes. In a recent interview by Bally Sports Detroit after Baez hit a walk-off double in the 10th inning against the Royals, Baez said ‘To be honest, it’s the best feeling in the world, man. Just to be able to make contact, help my team win.”
2023 will continue to be an overachieving season for this growing Tigers team. Baez will look to continue his leadership role and improve on his recent success even more.
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