Baseball's Nate Baez Named Pac-12 Player of the Week
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball's Nate Baez was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday, as announced by the league office.
Baez became the third Sun Devil to earn Player of the Week honors this season, joining Sean McLain and Ethan Long. - the most of any team in the Pac-12 this season and the most for ASU since the 2013 campaign (Trever Allen, RJ Ybarra, Michael Benjamin).
He is the fourth Sun Devil to earn Pac-12 Player or Pitcher of the week accolades, with Adam Tulloch being named Pitcher of the Week earlier this year as well. 2013 was also the last time ASU had at least four separate player earn a Player/Pitcher of the Week nod with Trevor Williams and Ryan Kellogg giving ASU five total for the season.
Baez paced the offensive onslaught for Sun Devil Baseball, leading ASU to a series sweep with 38 runs scored on the weekend – notable as Utah had been one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 and had allowed just 40 runs over 10 previous games entering the weekend.
Baez went 8-of-14 on the weekend for a .571 average and was second on the team with eight RBI. He homered three times and added a double, giving him a 1.286 slugging percentage for the weekend and an overall .625 OBP with his two walks.
The redshirt sophomore had at least one RBI in each of the three games and a career-high 5 RBIs on Friday - including a three-run shot in the third that broke a 2-2 tie and put ASU up for good. His RBI single in the eighth inning on Saturday capped a three-run inning that broke a 3-3 tie and earned the series victory for ASU. He added a two-run homer on Sunday for good measure.
Seven of Baez's eight RBIs on the weekend came with two outs and he was a perfect 5-for-5 hitting with two outs over the three games.
Baez has made a habit of getting better as the season has gone on and has been the hottest player in the Sun Devil lineup in the last month, despite being tasked with playing four different positions on the field in that time (second base, third base, left field and catcher).
Baez is the league leader with 20 doubles this season and is now 10th in the league with nine homers – five coming in the last five games. The 20 doubles are the most by a Sun Devil since David Greer had 23 in 2016 and the second-most in the last 10 years at ASU – tied for 11th for a Sun Devil batter since 1998.
His .608 slugging percentage is up to fifth in the Pac-12 and his .341 overall average is 11th. His 29 extra-base hits are fourth in the league – three back from a three-way tie of 32 that includes teammate Joe Lampe for first.
Baez is the league's second-best hitter in conference only games at .385 (behind OSU's Jacob Melton at .392) and his .747 slugging percentage in Pac-12 games is also second (just behind Oregon's Anthony Hall at .753).
Baez has 42 RBIs overall (ninth in the league) and 26 in Pac-12-only games (third in the league). What's been most incredible is that 29 of his RBIs have come with two outs -13 more than any of his teammates. His .404 average with runners in scoring position (23-of-57) is easily tops on the team with five-more hits than any of his teammates in that situation.
Of Baez's nine homers this year, seven have come with runners on base and all seven of those came with two outs.