Thanks to the popular film ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, we all know ‘carpe diem.’ This season, Chicago Cubs MVP candidate Javier Baez seized each and every day.
Thanks to Mr. Keating’s (the late, great Robin Williams) lecture on making the most of one’s opportunities in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society, we are all very aware of the meaning of the Latin phrase, carpe diem. In 2018, Javier Baez got a chance to play every day, and darned if he didn’t take Keating’s advice and seize his day. Over and over again, all season long.
The most important and relevant statistic I can give you about the likely runner-up in the National League MVP race is that he played in 160 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2018. While you may think that his 34 home runs, 111 RBI or even his 5.3 WAR per Fangraphs (and an even higher 6.3 WAR according to Baseball Reference) are more telling statistics, I would tell you none of those would be possible without him appearing in 160 games.
I’m not going to belabor the point that Cubs skipper Joe Maddon likes to move guys around and change lineups, thus limiting youngsters’ potential and productivity. We have been down that road before, and while there is certainly merit in discussing the pros and cons of playing every day versus getting sporadic rest throughout the season, it’s a story for another day.