Final 2003 Scouting Report: OF, Jeff Duncan

The Mets selected Charles Jeffrey Duncan in the 7th round of the 2000 draft out of Arizona State University. Duncan started his collegiate career at Iowa State University before transferring. At Arizona State, he began to convert from being a slap hitter to driving the baseball. He was regarded as something of a project when he was drafted. Nonetheless, he was in part a reason for the Mets 2000 draft being ranked in the top 5 by BaseballAmerica.

As Duncan was considered a project when drafted, he would be expected to be a late bloomer (if he developed at all), and to be old for his league at most levels early in his career. Duncan also began to wear glasses in 2002.

Duncan had his 2001 and 2002 seasons curtailed by injuries. In 2001, he was hit by a pitch that fractured his arm, and in 2002 he walked into a bat during batting drills, breaking his nose. Over the past 2 seasons, he has stolen 66 bases while being caught 8 times. Despite the lack of at bats due to injuries, Duncan had a break out season in 2002. Reducing his strikeouts appeared to be the most important cause of his improved performance. Duncan's ratios were extraordinary: walk rate of 1.8 per 10 AB; and strikeout rate of 1.9 per 10 at bats; and stolen base success ratio of 90%. Duncan demonstrated his ability to drive the ball with 27 extra-base hits in only 252 at bats.

Jeff Duncan got off to a slow that which might have been due in part to taking too many hittable pitches in order to draw more bases on balls. The early drop in XBA might also have been due to increased bunts, but really picked up the pace after June 6, where Duncan raised his batting average from .262 to .288. While they were down from 2002, Duncan's ratios at Binghamton remain solid: 1 BB per 7.7 AB; 1 K per 4.7 AB; XBA of 0.072; SB/SBA of 70.6 %. The ratios are all substantially down, but his K-rate since June 6 is 1 per 8.3 AB while his BB-rate improved to 1 BB per 6.5 AB. Duncan has stolen 115 bases in 137 attempts – a 83.9 success rate. Duncan struggled in his late August and September audition with the Mets.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2003

Mets

.194

139

27

1

10

13

4

17

41

.291

.245

2003

Norfolk

.267

15

4

2

4

2

1

1

7

.313

.733

2003

Binghamton

.288

278

113

4

23

49

24

36

59

.376

.406

2002

St. Lucie

.343

102

35

2

10

20

10

24

15

.472

.451

2002

Cap City

.393

150

59

4

17

33

15

18

34

.468

.600

2001

Cap City

.217

318

69

3

23

49

41

46

97

.329

.346


*Stats as of 9/7/03.

Batting and Power. As a leadoff hitter, Duncan is very advanced. He has good plate discipline, is a tough hitter with 2 strikes, can bunt, or slap at the pitch. He's learned to drive the baseball with gap power and is likely to hit 8-12 HR.

Base Running and Speed. Duncan has excellent speed with good quickness. He is an accomplished base runner and base stealer.

Defense. Duncan is an exceptional defensive CF who makes few mistakes. He has a solid arm.

Projection. Starting centerfielder. With his speed and bunting ability, Duncan projects to a consistent .280-.300 hitter in his prime. He possesses just enough power to maintain a near .400 OBP. He can bat both lead off or second. Since Duncan was anticipated to be a late bloomer, the projections are not downgraded for age-level.

ETA. Duncan struggled in a substantial cup of coffee in 2003. Duncan might begin 2004 at AAA, but he should be ready by mid-season. He should eventually evolve into a quality leadoff hitter.

Outfielders Team
Prentice Redman AAA - Norfolk Tides
Esix Snead AAA - Norfolk Tides
Matthew Watson AAA - Norfolk Tides
Jeff Duncan AA - Binghamton Mets
Ronald Acuna AA - Binghamton Mets
Angel Pagan A - St. Lucie Mets
Bobby Malek A - St. Lucie Mets
Jonathan Slack A - Capital City Bombers
Alhaji Turay A - Capital City Bombers
Derran Watts A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Seth Pietsch A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Corey Coles A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Jamar Hill R - Kingsport Mets
Roberto Solano R - Kingsport Mets
Tyler Davidson R - Kingsport Mets
Lastings Milledge R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Gamera R - Tronconero Mets
Anthony Cerda R - DSL Mets


COMMENTS


Outfield is not a strength of the organization especially in the long season leagues. The Mets have a serious shortage of power hitting OFers. Only, Turay projects to be a 30 HR type. In the short season leagues the Mets have 4-5 hitters that might top 30 HR should thy make it to the MLB level in Pietsch, Hill, Milledge, Davidson, and Solano. The Mets have a number of leadoff hitters types in Chavez, Parker, Slack, Cole, Pagan, Snead, Watts and Lydon. Milledge projects to be a power hitting leadoff hitter.

1. Lastings Milledge has the highest ceiling of any Mets prospect since Darryl Strawberry. Milledge's tools which all the scouting reports emphasized overlooked that he is a polished hitter, fielder and base runner. He's not a toolsie player trying to learn how to convert his astonishing tools into usable baseball skills. He's already well down the road of converting those tools into usable baseball skills. IMO, the Mets potentially have an Andruw Jones type player with better patience at the plate, and better base running and stealing skills.

2. Bobby Malek is the only left-handed hitting OF with any power. He likely projects to 18-22 HR power projection. TJ elbow surgery has delayed his development, but his collegiate ratios suggest he'd be a high average hitter. Malek will be rule 5 draft eligible for the first time following the 2004 season.

3. Alhaji Turay's performance was clearly affected by a number of minor injuries in 2003.

4. Prentice Redman still has the look of a nice 4th or 5th OF, but Redman has sufficient power potential that should it develop, he projects to start at LF.

5. Angel Pagan has slid since it doesn't appear that the Mets will begin to develop his power potential soon if at all. He projects to be more of a platton-type player in CF.

6. Jamar Hill is a draft and follow signee from Alaska by way of Santa Ana Junior College in California. He can also play 3B. He has great projectibility and could develop 30 HR plus power. Hill will be rule 5-draft eligible following the 2004 season.

7. Tyler Davidson missed 2002 with a fractured forearm. He has the best power potential of any player in the system including Craig Brazell (1B) and Brandon Wilson (C). Davidson was considered something of a project when the Mets drafted him. So, slow development was anticipated even without the fractured forearm. He'll be rule 5-draft eligible for the first time following the 2004 season. I don't anticipate he'll be on the 40-man roster or that he'll be selected in the rule 5 draft after 2004.

8. Matt Watson, despite his recent success, projects to be a nice pinch hitter and a reserve in the OF. Keep in mind that the noted slugged Jorge Velandia (admittedly with more ABs) has as many HRs and more doubles and triples than Watson. Watson's 14 BB in 159 ABs remains unimpressive for someone who has displayed as limited HR power as he has. Watson possesses limited speed and is a weak defender. Watson has already been passed on as a rule 5 draftee following the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

9. Corey Coles has some power and adds a needed left-handed bat with some pop. He can also pitch.

10. Seth Pietsch has excellent power, but needs to improve his plate discipline and approach to hitting.

11. Miguel Garcia has been brought of from the Dominican Republic, but he hasn't played very much.

12. Wayne Lydon has begun to demonstrate that he is converting his raw tools beyond his speed into useable baseball skills, however, he has a ways to go.

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