PP Scouting Report: 3B, Eric Duncan

The New York Yankees found a gem with the 27th pick in the 2003 draft when they selected 3B Eric Duncan out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. Duncan, a lifelong Yankees fan, could not pass up an opportunity to play for the Bombers after verbally committing to play for LSU. Duncan set single season records and career records at Seton Hall Prep and has drawn early comparisons to the Braves' Chipper Jones. Like Jones, there may be a position change in Duncan's future.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Eric Duncan
Positon: Third Base
DOB: December 7, 1984
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Selected by the Yankees with the 27th overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft.

Eric Duncan led the Seton Hall Prep Pirates in 2003 to a 30-1 record en route to their second New Jersey State Parochial A title in three years when he batted a mind-boggling .536, with 52 hits, 12 home runs and 60 RBI...all single season records for Seton Hall Prep. Duncan also set career marks at the school with a .410 batting average, 122 runs, 25 homers, 157 RBI and a .502 on base percentage. Duncan and the Yankees wasted no time, agreeing to terms on a minor-league deal that included a $1.25 million signing bonus before beginning his career as a Pinstriper in the Gulf Coast League.

Duncan, who has been compared to Chipper Jones at the same stage of his development, wasted no time making an immediate impression with the Yankees in his professional debut this past season, hitting a combined .301 with 17 doubles, 6 triples, 4 home runs, and 41 RBI. After an admirable debut in the Gulf Coast League, Duncan really raked the ball upon his call up to the Staten Island Yankees of the New York Penn League where he posted an 1108 OPS in 14 games.

Baseball America ranked him as the number 23 prospect in the 2003 draft and projected him to go as high as 14 in the draft to the Cincinnati Reds. What is perhaps most impressive about Eric Duncan is his professional approach to the game, especially for an 18-year old kid straight out of high school. Duncan has a ways to go before he reaches Yankee Stadium but everyone agrees he has the make up and attitude of something special. "He has a great chance to be a great player," Yankee owner George Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News. "When you get guys you don't think will be there when you pick, that's tremendous."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

Staten Island

.373

59

5

2

13

11

1

2

11

.413

.695

2003

Gulf Coast

.278

180

12

2

28

24

0

18

33

.348

.400


*Stats as of 9/7/03

Batting and Power: Duncan, who has fantastic hitting mechanics and a professional approach to hitting, is already one of the better hitting prospects in the entire Yankees farm system. He is aggressive at the plate and has a smooth stroke that is both lightning quick and compact. The ball jumps off of Duncan's bat and he has home run power to all fields from a small upper cut.

Base Running and Speed: Duncan has below average speed but is a smart baserunner. He stole 18 bases his senior year of high school.

Defense: An athletic player, Duncan played 3B his entire career in high school. Duncan has an average arm for a third base man and his future with the Yankees will most likely be at first base. Scouts agree he could be an adequate to average first baseman defensively.

Projection: Duncan projects to eventually hit 30+ home runs in the Majors. Rookie-level Gulf Coast League managers rated him the best prospect in the league. If not for Dioner Navarro, Duncan might be the one Yankees' hitting prospect with the higest ceiling.

ETA: 2006/2007 Duncan is almost assuredly heading to Battle Creek to begin the 2004 season. The Yankees will have to resist the tempation of rushing this 18-year old.

Notes: Eric Duncan was named First Team All-American (for high school players) by both Student Sports and Baseball America. He was named co-MVP of the inaugural post-season All-American Game. Duncan hit a 420 -ft. home run the day he was drafted by the Yankees.

Third Basemen

2003 Team

Nate Rolison

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Fernando Seguignol

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Aaron Rifkin

AA - Trenton Thunder

Brian Myrow AA - Trenton Thunder
Jeff Segar A - Tampa Yankees
Elvis Corporan A - Tampa Yankees
Jayson Drobiak A - Battle Creek Yankees
Juan Camacho A - Battle Creek Yankees
Eric Duncan A - Staten Island Yankees
John Urick A - Staten Island Yankees
Hector Zamora A - Staten Island Yankees


COMMENTS


1. Nate Rolison - He is certainly huge, standing 6'6 and weighing in at 240 lbs. But that's about the most noteworthy trait he possesses. Not a prospect.

2. Fernando Seguignol - While he absolutely crushed AAA pitching this past year (.341-28-87), it's hard to get excited about this 29-year old 1B/DH. Power has always been his strong suit. The only future he has with the Yankees is as an emergency call up or pinch-hitter.

3. Aaron Rifkin - The Cal. State-Fullerton product was a fourth round pick by the Yankees in the 2001 draft. Rifkin, who turns 25 next season, drove in 90 runs for AA Trenton this past season while hitting .269. He's headed to Columbus in 2004.

4. Brian Myrow - The third baseman had a solid season for Trenton in 2003, scoring 99 runs on the strength of a .306 average and drawing 107 walks. Myrow also plays some second base and some outfield which could be his meal ticket to Yankee Stadium as a productive utility player. Time is running out for this 27-year old.

5. Jeff Segar - About the only thing of note about this first baseman was his 29 doubles for Tampa this past season. Of course, his .223 and only six home runs show his true production.

6. Elvis Corporan - Corporan did little at the plate (.246, 4 HRs) and very little in the field (25 errors) to warrant his status as a "prospect".

7. Jayson Drobiak - While most of the Yankees corner infield prospects did little of note, Drobiak crushed the Midwest League Pitchers in 2003. Drobiak, who plays both 1B and 3B, clubbed 30 home runs to lead all Yankees minor league hitters and was 5th among all minor league hitters in home runs. Old for this level (turns 25 in March), the Yankees will need to challenge him in 2004.

8. Juan Camacho - Camacho plays a decent 3B defensively, but his bat (.220 in 78 games) leaves little to be desired.

9. Eric Duncan - The Yankees first round pick in 2003, Duncan is already drawing comparisons to Chipper Jones. He's easily the best corner infield prospect in the Yankees system.

10. John Urick - This Oklahoma State product did very little in his professional debut with the Staten Island Yankees.

11. Hector Zamora - The third baseman led the Staten Island Yankees in home runs with 7 this past season but struck out 56 times in 63 games.

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