He may or may not have a future with the New York Mets: after all, he is a low-OBP guy who recently criticized fans for booing the team, resulting in a team statement and a tense atmosphere for a couple of days. But there is no denying that Javier Baez is one of the most exciting players in MLB when he is at his best, and right now, the Mets are benefiting from his torrid streak at the plate.
The past few weeks have been rough for Baez and the Mets, but things appear to be trending in the right direction. The team is playing much better, and earned its seventh victory in its last eight games by defeating the Washington Nationals 13-6 on the road on Sunday.
Baez, of course, went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs. The Mets are now over .500, 69-68, and will face the Nationals one last time on Monday.
“Sometimes, I struggle a lot,” said Báez, who entered Sunday’s game slashing .215/.262/.468 with five home runs and eight RBI in 22 games (20 starts) as a member of the Mets, to SNY. “And it feels great — it feels great to be hot at the plate right now and, hopefully, I keep it going.”
After a tough stretch that included a stint on the 10-day injured list with back spasms recently, Baez found himself at the center of the storm. He was hitting .171/.216/.343 with two home runs and three RBI through 10 games with New York. However, he came back from his ailment and has performed much better: he has three blasts and five RBI in 12 starts since returning.
The Mets’ infielder is red-hot at the plate
Over his last seven contests, Baez is hitting .360/.407/.800 with eight runs and five RBI.
Mets’ manager Luis Rojas is impressed by his “energy and the quality of the player” he is. “I think, from Day 1, when he showed up into the clubhouse, he can transmit a lot of good things — his good vibes and all the things that he can do out on the field to help a team win. But one of the things that a lot of people have been talking about — and, of course, we’re aware — is his approach at the plate and the chases, right, how much of a free-swinger he is and what we have here for a philosophy, just being aggressive in zone and not expanding too much. And I think that’s what he did today. If he can control the zone like he did today, he’s going to be a better offensive player. He laid off some pitches. He did chase a few times, but he laid off some pitches and he found a pitch in the zone and was able to drive it.
Plate discipline will always be the thing to watch with Baez: he has a 0/8 BB/K ratio over his last seven games despite his success.
The Mets are only 3.5 games behind the division-leading Braves. They need Baez to keep performing.
“We’re trying,” Báez said. “We’re obviously trying. Like I said, I’m trying to bring my mentality here. And we’ll see, we’ll see when the last game comes and if we’re out or we’re in. Together, we’ve just got to go pitch by pitch and game by game and not just worry about first place or second place. It will come if we focus on that.”