Javy Baez is enjoying a breakout season and when it comes time for the National League All-Star roster to be announced next month, he deserves to be there as much — or more — than any other Cubs player.
After a bit of a slump for a few weeks, Baez broke out in a big way Tuesday night in Los Angeles, hitting a pair of homers (including a grand slam) and driving in 5. That put him on pace for a season line of 34 homers, 118 RBI, 95 runs and 27 stolen bases.
Combined with his stellar defense at multiple positions on the Cubs infield and Baez may well get some MVP consideration when the season is said and done.
But for the time being, he and Cubs fans can settle for a trip to Washington D.C. next month as an All-Star and a member of the Home Run Derby.
Baez is exactly the type of player the Derby needs with his insane power, one-of-a-kind flair and swag.
That being said, the Cubs also have their sights set on another World Series championship this fall and Baez is a huge key to that success. Is it worth the risk of injury for an exhibition contest? Could Baez actually mess up his swing for the second half of the regular season by trying too hard to hit balls into the bleachers on a Monday night in our nation's capital?
"I don't mind it," David DeJesus said Wednesday night on the CubsTalk Podcast. "Javy is the type of guy, he's gonna sell tickets. The All-Star Game is about putting on show. Why not have one of the best second basemen in the game?
"You're not gonna mess his swing up because he swings at everything. This could hone him in a bit for the second half, who knows?"
DeJesus also brought up a good point: Baez's participation in the Home Run Derby could also bring some positivity to his home nation of Puerto Rico after a rough year.
Plus, it's not like Baez is currently a contact hitter who never swings for the fences as is. He's always up there taking that A-hack.
Doug Glanville is also all aboard the Baez-Derby train, using a variation of a "Bull Durham" quote to make his point: "If you feel like it messes up your swing, then it does mess up your swing."
Baez is perfectly built for such an event. He could swing and miss badly 12 pitches in a row but that wouldn't do anything for his confidence. He'd still be up there taking a massive cut on Pitch No. 13.
"He absolutely needs to get in there," Glanville said. "First of all, his power is serious. If you ever watch Javier Baez take batting practice when he is just all in, he's peppering the scoreboard at Wrigley Field. He has huge power.
"So he's a guy that could not only be in it, he could win it. At the same time, the electricity, the personality, that would be a showcase, a perfect stage for him to get out there and kinda show off what he does."
Some players avoid the Home Run Derby because of the physical toll it takes on their body. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both took part in 2015, but said they would not want to do it again with how exhausting it is. Guys have said they've been sore for days after going out there and taking big hack after big hack.
Then again, Baez seems to be made of rubber anyway, so what's another few extra monster swings?