Javier Baez has made a name for himself as a defender for the Chicago Cubs. Baez received his first bit of formal recognition Thursday when he was named a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove at second base in the National League.
Baez joins teammates Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward as Gold Glove finalists. Rizzo won the Gold Glove at first base in 2016. Heyward has won five Gold Gloves in right field, two with the Cubs.
The 25-year-old Baez finished the season as the Cubs’ shortstop, the position at which they drafted him in 2011. He began the season at second base and took over at short full time after Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave as Major League Baseball investigated allegations of domestic violence against him.
Baez played 104 games at second base this year, earning his first All-Star Game berth. He played 65 games at shortstop, 22 at third base and one at first base. He turned in highlight-reel plays across the field, both with fielding the ball and in making quick tags.
The other finalists at second base are former Cub DJ LeMahieu of Colorado and Kolten Wong of St. Louis.
Rizzo’s competition this year are Joey Votto of Cincinnati and Freddie Freeman of Atlanta.
Heyward is looking to win his third straight Gold Glove in his three years with the Cubs. He also won in 2012 and 2014 with the Braves and in 2015 with the Cardinals.
The other finalists for right field are onetime Cub Jon Jay of Arizona and Nick Markakis of Atlanta.