While everyone is talking about how amazing Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have been to start the year, Javier Baez is taking strides to prove to people that his second-place finish in the MVP voting in 2018 was no fluke.
Baez, on the season, is hitting .327/.358/.673 for a total 1.032 OPS, with nine home runs and 22 runs batted in. So where does he rank in all of these totals? In the National League, he's currently ninth in batting average, fourth in home runs, third in runs batted in, and fourth in runs scored, slugging, and total hits.
In most of these categories, he's sitting just behind Yelich and Bellinger, who have gotten off to absolutely torrid starts.
Javier Báez: first #Cubs player with 9 HR through the team's first 24 games of a season since Andre Dawson in 1987— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 27, 2019
If the Cubs don’t win it all this season it’s a disservice to Javier Baez. That is guy is just, wow. pic.twitter.com/MrhfjUZrlr— Jon Ferlise (@CubsKingdom) April 25, 2019
Though Baez will certainly fall off the pace a bit, there is a significant chance that he could hit at least 40 home runs and get 120+ runs batted in on the year, which is a sure fire MVP-caliber season.
It won't be easy, but if the Chicago Cubs continue to turn things around and track down Yelich's Brew Crew and the Cardinals to take the NL Central, the Cubs star shortstop could have a legitimate case to win his first MVP of his career. It'll be difficult, but at the very least, it's clear there was nothing fluky about the campaign we watched last season.
Baez is a bonafide MVP candidate. Annually.