Javier Baez won his first career Silver Slugger Award on Thursday evening, a well-deserved win considering “El Mago’s” awesome 2018 season. He is one of only two second basemen in franchise history to win this award, joining seven-time winner Ryne Sandberg. Báez is also just the fifth infielder in franchise history to win a Silver Slugger Award, joining Rizzo (2016), third baseman Aramis Ramirez (2011), first baseman Derrek Lee (2005) and Sandberg (1984-85, 1988-92).

Baez batted .290 and led the National League with 111 RBI. He also finished the 2018 season in the top 10 in runs (101), home runs (34) and slugging percentage (.554). He had a career-high in doubles (40) and on-base percentage (.326), and fittingly, scored the Cubs only run in their close loss to the Rockies in the NL Wildcard game.

Baez was (literally) the driving force behind the Cubs 95 win season.

The sky's the limit for Baez, who (at 25 years old)  is heading into year six with the Cubs. His breakout season extended to the basepaths as well, as he racked up a career-high 21 stolen bases on the year. As he grows with experience and cuts down on the strikeouts, he will become a constant in these type of award races. Baez’s award season may not be done yet, because he will be a major factor in what will no doubt be a tight NL MVP race.