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Javy Báez - A Struggling Vet

In the realm of professional sports, every offseason offers a chance for redemption, reinvention, and renewal. For Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Báez, the winter months following the 2023 MLB season were a crucial period of reflection and dedication. After a challenging season characterized by struggles at the plate, Báez understood that significant improvements were necessary to reclaim his place among baseball's elite.

The statistics from Báez's 2023 campaign painted a sobering picture. With a batting average of .222 and an on-base percentage of just .267, it was evident that adjustments were imperative. The 29-year-old powerhouse managed to tally 18 doubles, four triples, and nine home runs– but it was clear that his potential was far from fully realized. With 125 strikeouts juxtaposed against a mere 24 walks, the need for a more disciplined approach at the plate became glaringly apparent.

Recognizing these shortcomings, Báez embarked on a relentless pursuit of improvement during the offseason. Guided by an unwavering determination to elevate his game, he dedicated countless hours to refining his skills and addressing his weaknesses. From the batting cages to the gym, Báez left no stone unturned in his quest for redemption.

One of the focal points of Báez's offseason regimen was his approach to hitting. Acknowledging the need for greater consistency and discipline, he worked tirelessly with hitting coaches to refine his mechanics and develop a more discerning eye at the plate. Through countless repetition and meticulous adjustments, Báez sought to unlock his full potential as a hitter, aiming to deliver more impactful performances in the upcoming season.

But Báez's commitment to improvement extended far beyond the realm of hitting. Recognizing the importance of versatility and defensive prowess, he dedicated himself to honing his skills across the infield. Through rigorous drills and simulated game scenarios, Báez aimed to sharpen his reflexes and enhance his defensive instincts, positioning himself as a formidable force on the field.

Yet, perhaps the most significant strides Báez made during the offseason were in the realm of mindset and mentality. Embracing the lessons learned from the challenges of the past season, he approached his offseason development with a renewed sense of purpose and resilience. “When you’re in this league for a long time, you can settle into habits -- some good, some more casual,” Hinch said. “He’s got into a really good prep routine with Joey. An object in motion always stays in motion -- that’s a good statement for him. When he gets caught flat-footed is when he has to make up for it with his arm. So he’s been very diligent about his work. I’ve been very impressed by that. And the results have translated over into the games where he’s played remarkable defense. So that routine is going to stay with him and stay with us. Joey’s not going to let it go away. And Javy’s bought it.”

As the dawn of the 2024 MLB season approaches, the baseball world eagerly anticipates the return of Javy Báez. Armed with a newfound sense of purpose and an arsenal of refined skills, he stands poised to write the next chapter of his illustrious career. While the road to redemption may be fraught with obstacles, one thing remains certain: Javy Báez's unwavering commitment to improvement serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of the athlete, ever driven to chase greatness, one swing at a time.

Written by: Priya Cheema

Edited by: Jessi Dworkin

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