Cubs Quick Hits: Comparing Javy Baez and Addison Russell on Defense
News broke late Thursday night that the Chicago Cubs will be without their defensive star shortstop, Addison Russell, for at least three weeks. Plantar fasciitis can go to hell.
Imagining life without Addy is hard, but we’re going to have to chug along without the quick-twitching shortstop for the time being. Fortunately, the Cubs have another young, instinctive infielder in Javy Baez.
How does he compare defensively to Russell? Okay, but not quite as good.
Baez’s defensive runs saved (DRS) and ultimate zone rating per 150 games (UZR/150) are meh. His -4.1 UZR/150, for example, is below league average over the 439 innings he’s played and his DRS +1 is quite standard. These two numbers suggest Javy has performed like a league-average shortstop defensively.
Scores of +15 for both metrics are essentially Gold-Glove tier, which is the echelon in which Russell resides. The would-be starting shortstop had a +14 DRS prior to hurting his foot, alongside an impressive 6.9 UZR/150 this season and career 12.9 rating.
As much as we all love El Mago, there aren’t many infielders who can vacuum baseballs quite like Russell. He’ll be missed.