PP 2004 Scouting Report: 1b/DH Shelley Duncan

The New York Yankees draft 1b/DH, Shelley Duncan in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2001 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona. The now 24 year old Duncan is a prospect that possesses potentially lethal power at the plate. For Tampa so far this season, Duncan leads the team in home runs and RBI and he could well be a prospect that could slip under the radar and eventually become an excellent player. Look for this 2004 season to be a pivotal one in his prospect career.

Vital Statistics

Name: Shelley Duncan

Position: 1b/DH

DOB: September 29, 1979

Height: 6' 5"

Weight: 215

Bats: Right

Weight: Right

Place of Residence: Tucson, Arizona

How Acquired: Shelley Duncan was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2001 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona.

 

In college, Shelley Duncan was a major part of an excellent baseball program at the University of Arizona. In his career there, Duncan set single season and career records for home runs at the school. During his time there, he was described as having "light tower power" that could take a ball out of the ballpark at any time. Also, on a not so positive note, Duncan had Tommy John surgery in college and was therefore limited to much more time at first base and designated hitter. The 24 year old Duncan also happens to be the son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

 

For most if not all of his career in the Yankee organization, Shelley has somehow slipped under the radar despite his numerous college and minor league achievements. In his first season in the Yankee farm system, Duncan did show that monster power that he became known for in college with 8 home runs for Staten Island but did not exactly hit up to par. Duncan only managed a .245 batting average and many scouts began to doubt his all around offensive skills. The next season for the Greensboro Bats was much better all around year for him though. He improved his average by bringing it up to .267 while crushing 14 home runs in 356 at bats. His strikeout numbers were not quite as convincing though. Shelley fanned 88 times.

 

The 2003 season appeared to be early on, the season in which Shelley put his "light tower" power to work along with much better all around skills. Duncan played spectacular and showed that great power and even brought his average up a large amount. However, Duncan was slowed later in the year with wrist problems which robbed a lot of his hitting ability and especially his power. Eventually, the Tampa Yankees shut down Shelley for the rest of the season. He ended his disappointing season with only 330 at bats after starting off so well.

 

In 2004, Shelley Duncan has gotten off to an outstanding start and is showing that he can hit for average and power with Tampa. He is hitting over .300 so far and already has 4 home runs. Many scouts believe that this could be the year for Shelley to finally showcase the numerous skills that he brings to the table.

 

Year

Team

Avg

AB

R

2B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

SLG

OBP

2001

Staten Island

.245

273

43

17

8

39

5

21

62

.410

 /

2002

Greensboro

.267

356

58

23

14

56

15

59

88

.461

.375

2003

Tampa

.264

330

42

19

8

47

5

35

83

.406

.336

 

 

Batting and Power. When it comes to power, that is the name of the game for Shelley Duncan. He takes his healthy cuts at the plate and has fairly decent patience. He is able to hit the long ball with the best of them and is an RBI machine at every level he has played at in his career. If there is something to improve upon in his offense, it would be his strikeout numbers. In 2003, in only 330 at bats, Duncan struck out an unimpressive 83 times. As oppose to his strikeout numbers, he only managed 35 times. His patience is not awful but would be something to improve upon in his already excellent offensive game. Duncan, right now appears that he could possibly hit for a fairly high batting average but the reality is that he would likely be a .270 -.280 major league hitter. His power numbers could translate to possibly 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI. This is a very good all around hitter, that could make an impact in the majors someday if he continues to make improvements like he has.

 

Base Running and Speed. You would not exactly qualify Shelley Duncan as a fast runner or a base stealer for that matter. However, he is not an incredibly slow runner either. Two years ago, he was able to steal 15 bases not because he is fast but more so because he is a smart base runner. Duncan has about average speed and is by no means a liability on the base paths.

 

Defense. Defense may be perhaps the weakest part of Shelley Duncan's game and is a major reason as to why he has become more and more of a DH over the past couple years. It seems that with a lot of work, his defense has undergone some improvements but is still not you would call solid. In order to remain a valuable prospect, Duncan will have to learn to become a much better fielder rather than a designated hitter.

 

Projection. There is no doubt that Shelley Duncan can eventually be a major league hitter. He will most likely be a big time power threat that is able to drive in over 100 runs. His future will be at first base or DH but his lack of positional flexibility could hurt him and his prospect value.

 

ETA. 2006. At this point, Duncan is slightly over aged for high A ball but this is mostly because of his late season injury last season. Before this 2004 season is over, Duncan will almost certainly find himself playing for AA Trenton. Then he should spend 2005 with Columbus barring any injuries or trade. After that, 2006 could be the year that Shelley makes his jump to the big show.

 

 


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