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Some team should give Shelley Duncan a chance

Nov 25, 2009, 2:24 PM EDT

Shelley Duncan would probably have several seasons in the big leagues under his belt had just about any other team drafted him in the second round back in 2001, but instead he’s wasted away in the Yankees’ minor-league system.
Duncan has accumulated 3,812 plate appearances spread over 905 games and nine seasons in the minors, including over 1,000 trips to the plate at both Double-A and Triple-A.
During that time in the minors he’s blasted 170 homers while making multiple All-Star teams, and this season he was named MVP of the International League after hitting .277/.370/.546 with 30 homers and 99 RBIs in 123 games.
Yet not only did Duncan turn 30 years old with a grand total of 68 games in the majors to show for it, the Yankees dropped him from their 40-man roster last week. Duncan has smartly decided that he’ll likely never get an extended shot in New York, so he’s opted for free agency rather than returning on a minor-league deal. It remains to be seen if any other teams view him as a big-league player, because his prime was wasted at Triple-A and he hardly has star potential at this point.
With that said, Duncan deserves a chance to stick in the majors and is perfectly capable of knocking around left-handed pitching as a productive platoon first baseman, corner outfielder, or designated hitter. At the very least he’d make for a nice bench bat after hitting .271/.368/.533 in four seasons at Triple-A. Baseball Think Factory projects him as a .252/.328/.460 hitter in the majors for 2010, which is a higher OPS than seven teams got from their first basemen and 18 teams got from their left fielders this season.

  1. Kevin - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    This is exactly the type of player I’d love to see the Pirates target while we wait for the recent draftees and traded-for prospects to be ready.

  2. Michael - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    This is the kind of low-priced talent the Indians could use. With their upcoming prospects not showing much in the little time they’ve played, the Indians could use a talented bat like him, even if it is off the bench.

  3. Steve C - Nov 25, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    This is the kind of player the Mets could use.
    Wait, he doesn’t cost enough and have a history of visiting the DL, nevermind.

  4. Cheap Seat Chronicles - Nov 25, 2009 at 7:38 PM

    I think that the phrase: “This is the kind of player [Insert Any MLB Team Here] could use” will serve as a solid blanket statement for this story.

    Duncan makes sense for every team–except the Yankees, apparently–to use in some capacity. I’m sure he’ll get a shot. There’s a good chance he can pick and choose based on who will offer him the most playing time.

    Best of luck to Duncan, the dude deserves a legit shot to make good on all that potential he’s been wasting in the minors for the better part of the last decade.

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