Why even Javier Baez's strikeouts are must-see TV

Why even Javier Baez's strikeouts are must-see TV
August 8, 2014, 8:30 pm
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Tony Andracki

Four games into his MLB career, Javier Baez has basically been all-or-nothing.

Ten of Baez's 19 bit-league at-bats have ended in either a homer or a strikeout. During his Wrigley Field debut Friday, Baez singled and scored a run before striking out in his last four at-bats.

[RELATED - Baez the center of attention as 'JavyTime' hits Wrigley Field]

But even his whiffs have become must-see TV.

"That is true," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "It happened with Ken Griffey, Jr. You think about [Gary] Sheffield. Those guys were starting to come to the big leagues, there was some excitement because you're talking about guys that generate that impact with the baseball.

"And rightfully so. It should be. It's something that could become very, very special. He's just a young man that's going to chip away at it."

Baez doesn't bother shortening his stroke or choking up with two strikes. Thus far, he hasn't worried much about changing his approach and the Cubs don't want to reel in his aggressiveness.

The 21-year-old slugger swings from his heels every chance he gets. When he came up in the 10th inning Friday with the Cubs trailing by one, he actually very nearly came out of his shoes on a swing before swinging so hard his momentum carried him down to one knee on strike three.

[RELATED - Cubs GM Hoyer on Baez: 'He's a special talent']

Baez just has a certain level of flair, a swagger that hasn't been seen much around the Cubs the last few years.

"I think that special players have that," Renteria said. "Being in camp with Ken Griffey Jr. quite a few years ago [I was an older guy and he was a younger guy], he was the same way.

"And I don't wanna compare [Baez] to Ken Griffey Jr., but I'm just saying there are guys who feel comfortable in their own skin. They feel comfortable in the place they're participating and playing the game of baseball.

"They look good, they feel good and they just wanna play the game."

For better or worse, through all the strikeouts and all the homers, that swagger will be around the Cubs.

The Javier Baez Show has officially hit Chicago.