9/13 How soon will Baez make it to the bigs?

Mariano Duncan was surprised to get a text from Cubs’ top prospect Javier Baez, thanking the former big leaguer for all he did as the shortstop’s hitting coach at Class A Daytona. Duncan, who was with the Cubs Friday in Pittsburgh, said Baez sent the message before the Minor League season ended.

“He said, ‘Thank you for having patience with me for the whole year. It means a lot to me,'” Duncan said. “I texted him back and said, ‘Thank you for listening and making the adjustments.’ When I texted him back, I said, ‘Don’t thank me for that. I get paid to do that and to try to develop you guys and make you a better player.’ All the credit should go to him. He works so hard and he listens. He did everything he is supposed to do on the field.”

On Friday, Baez was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year after he combined to bat .282 with 34 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 111 RBIs in 130 games between Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.

Duncan, 50, said he was impressed with the way Baez recovered from a slow start at the beginning of the season to post the stellar numbers. The two studied video to see how pitchers were approaching him, and Duncan emphasized being prepared, and repeating his mechanics.

“The only thing thing I’m concerned about with him is to pay attention to detail and come every day to play the game right,” Duncan said. “He had a little bit of a problem in the beginning but he made the adjustments and you see what kind of year he had.

“One thing I texted him was that the only thing I want from him is when he goes to the big leagues to stay humble, and when he gets to the big leagues, be the same Javy that he is right now in the Minor Leagues,” Duncan said. “He texted me back, and said, ‘I promise I’ll do that.’ He’s got all the ability to be a good solid Major League player. He has a great future in front of him. You’ll see that kid in the big leagues plenty soon.”

Cubs fans eager to see the 2011 No. 1 pick on the big league team want to know how soon.

“It’s up to him right now,” Duncan said of the 20-year-old shortstop. “He has the ability to be a good, every day player in the big leagues. Now it’s up to him as to how quick he’ll be there. The way he developed, he’s getting very close to be there.”

– Carrie Muskat

3 Comments

Kudos to Duncan for his offensive tutelage of Baez. Now we need to find a defensive coach equivalent to Duncan and sack whoever has been instructing Javier until the present. 44 errors? That`s off the charts. I`m serious. Have never heard tell before of a pro baseball athlete committing that many errors in just one season.

You haven’t lived. There have been a ton. They just have never put up the offensive numbers like Baez. If he’s as dedicated as Duncan says he is, then he’ll be able to tighten that up and be capable of being on the ML roster, sooner than later.

Derek Jeter, the guy with 5 Gold Gloves at shortstop, had 56 errors in just 126 games in a minor league season in 1993. With Javy’s bat, I think the Cubs will patient with that glove for a spell.

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