Sunday, December 13, 2009
It's over. The great ball man experiment. Not the Seinfeld episode. I'm talking about the hope that the Duncan boys, Shelley and Eric (no relation) could become regular contributors to the Yankees lineup.
Shelley had some moments in the sun during the the 2007 season, hitting seven home runs, but Eric has never had a major league bat and had the bigger upside.
I watched Eric's development at Seton Hall Prep. Local boy makes good. The Florham Park native was the NJ high school player of the year in 2003 and was selected in the 1st round, 27th overall, by the Yankees. Local area baseball fans were excited and full of anticipation as we just knew he would be hitting 30 home runs a year with the friendly right field porch in the old(er) Yankee Stadium.
Things started out well enough. Duncan graduated high school, then spent his summer playing for the GCL and Staten Island Yankees. 6 home runs and 69 RBI in 107 games, plus a good OPS had to be a portend of things to come.
But while Eric hit 35 home runs over the next two seasons, more often than not he wasn't making contact. 267 strikeouts over those same two seasons as the holes in Duncan's game were exposed. He would never hit higher than .260 again and his power diminished. Injuries limited his playing time and led to his departure from the Yankees organization, still just 25 years old.
That announcement came today from LoHud's Chad Jennings (by the way if I haven't said it already, a great replacement for Pete Abe. Chad's work covering the Scranton Yankees was outstanding) that Duncan has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves. Perhaps a chance of scenery will help turn things around for Duncan. We can only hope so!