Cubs manager Joe Maddon suggested that Baez may approach 600 plate appearances in 2018, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Ben Zobrist has been battling a back injury early on this spring, and along with Ian Happ, Zobrist represents the potential obstructions to a larger role for Baez. "He's at that point now (that) to get those 500 to 600 plate appearances, (he needs to) organize (his) strike zone, accept walks and use the whole field," Maddon said. Baez will presumably play less at shortstop in 2018 if Addison Russell is healthy, and it still seems more likely that he'll finish closer to 500 plate appearances than 600 barring the improved approach that Maddon suggested. Still, with his combination of power and speed, Baez remains an intriguing player despite the uncertainty about his playing time.