August 02, 2006
Mmmm....Duncan Hope Gots
Is There Any Hope For Eric Duncan?
(Hat tip to BaseballMusings.com.)
I think Sickels nails it when he says:
If Duncan had gone to college, 2006 would have been his draft season. A player jumping from college ball to Double-A and hitting .266/.363/.532 in his first try would be considered an excellent prospect.
Still, since 1973, Don Mattingly is the only Yankees 1B prospect who has ever stuck with the team.
Nick Johnson, Kevin Maas, Steve Balboni, Fred McGriff, J.T. Snow, Hal Morris and Dave Bergman have all been sent packing from New York while imports like Tino Martinez, Chris Chambliss, Jason Giambi, Bob Watson, and Jim Spencer have manned 1B for the Yankees.
I have a feeling that Eric Duncan will be traded to another team before he has a full-blown chance to play in the Bronx. Actually, I see Johnny Damon playing 1B in the Bronx in 2009 before I see Duncan playing there.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 2, 2006 11:40 AM
And you're basing this on... what? Pure assumption? Duncan could get traded or he could stick with the team. Unless you can see into the future -- to see what trades might happen or who else develops in the system -- it's pure guesswork.
The idea that Duncan's time was up, or that there was no "hope" for him, is asinine. He's twenty-one years old! And he failed in AAA because he was playing through a horrible back injury.
Duncan has improved his plate discipline this year and he's putting up nice power numbers. If a D-Lee/Pujols-type player doesn't come up as a free agent in the next two years, Duncan should be the Yankees' everyday first baseman.
When I say "I have a feeling," yes, it's all based on a guess, hunch, vibe, etc.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 2, 2006 01:44 PM
Bailey (or anyone else), how do people project Duncan's glove at 1B? I hear a lot about his bat but I rarely hear about what sort of 1B he'll be in the field. Any info would be appreciated.
But what is the "feeling" based on, Steve? Anything at all? Or did you just pull it out of the air?
MJ, I've only seen Duncan play first in spring training. I remember him turning a nice double play. I realize this doesn't tell us much. He supposedly wasn't that great at third base. An unnamed scout in a Joel Sherman article said Duncan had a lot to learn at first. I think he's probably average right now. But he's not your typical slugger. He has some athleticism and speed.
The feeling is based on how the Yankees have treated/handled 1B prospects in the last 30 years - from McGriff to Nick Johnson.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 2, 2006 02:26 PM
But, Steve, that may have changed. There is a greater emphasis on promoting from within (I only wish my boss felt the same way). Now, perhaps this is temporary but Cashman did hold the line on trading away our best prospects. Even the Red Sox were willing to trade Craig Hansen at the deadline. And the good work done by Melky, Wang, and Cano has to have persuaded those in the organization who insist on having an All-Star veteran at every position that it's not necessary and certainly wasteful. Eric Duncan doesn't have to be Jim Thome or even Craig Wilson to help the team be successful and more efficient at the same time.
With Giambi playing well, Andy Phillips, and now Sheffield buying a first baseman's glove I don't see Duncan being tested in the next 18 months. I think they'll keep him in double-A or Columbus, which will give him more at-bats and prevent his service time from starting.
But, also, from the Yankees standpoint, Duncan's stock is high again, now. Do you use that chip now - or, risk him flopping in Triple-A again and then having lost the chip?
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 2, 2006 02:56 PM
Those names bring back memories. My very first Yankees game at the Stadium was in 1992 or so. I was 8 years old so my memory is kind of hazy, but Kevin Maas hit a home run while I was away from my seat buying a hot dog. And Steve Balboni walked in the third inning and was lifted for a pinch runner. The rest, as they say, is history.
I don't see a real need to trade him .. we are pretty much complete lineup wise next year barring possibly 1B.. and he's not going to get us a good pitcher anyway.
Giambi probably should only DH with occasional 1Bs in the next couple of years.
Duncan started out as a 3B so his glove at 1B should be at least acceptable.