World Baseball Classic enhances Javier Baez’s Cubs preparation – Chicago Tribune
A 8-0 loss Wednesday night to the United States in the World Baseball Classic title game at Dodger Stadium did nothing to hurt the preparation of Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez for the 2017 season.
In fact, Cubs manager Joe Maddon believed Baez benefited from his participation for Puerto Rico and should be ready for the 2017 season.
“His confidence should be soaring,” Maddon said before Baez went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the title game. “He’s ready to play a regular major league season game.
“I might have to balance him out between giving him a break and still keeping him ready. I’m happy for the guy. He’s made a lot of wonderful adjustments over the past couple years.”
Baez gained plenty of international notoriety during the WBC for his flashy defense and clever base stealing. But Maddon marveled over the offensive improvements Baez has made since Maddon arrive as manager prior to the 2015 season.
“When I came here, everyone was talking about the big swing, the mental mistakes on defense,” Maddon said. “We talked about it last year. I think in spite of all the exuberance, he’s still doing the routine play more routinely on defense. Offensively, he knows he needs to cut down on his swing when it’s necessary.”
Maddon projects Baez as a more refined player in two years as he learns to cut down his swing more frequently while continuing to show more style while making the routine play more consistently.