Offseason Q&A with Eric Duncan

Yankees' top prospect Eric Duncan checks in with for an offseason Q&A session to talk about how he feels about not being a part of the Randy Johnson trade, how he felt his 2004 season, who he has been most impressed with in the Yankees system, and much more. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

PinstripesPlus: How do you feel now about not being a part of the Randy Johnson trade and remaining in the Yankees' family?

Eric Duncan: It feels great. I mean, I've always wanted to be a Yankee. I would like to stay here with the Yankees for the rest of my career if I can. But when the rumors were circulating about me being part of the Randy Johnson trade, there was a positive and negative. While I would have liked to stay with the Yanks, I still would have been playing baseball for a living if I was traded, and it can't be any better than that.

PinstripesPlus: How do you feel about your performance in 2004?

Duncan: It was a good year last year. It was my first full season playing, so I didn't know really what to expect. I really learned a lot about the mental part of the game, how to approach it better. I knew that I had no control of where I would be playing, even if I was tearing it up. I just went into last season with the mindset of playing well and everything else would take care of itself.

PinstripesPlus: Do you know where you'll start off the 2005 season? What are your goals for next season?

Duncan: I have no idea where I'll be starting next year. I would love to start in Trenton since I'd be close to my family and they would be able to see me play. I would be comfortable starting in Tampa, but I'd also be comfortable in Trenton. As far as my goals, I just want to be more consistent as a ball player and stay healthy.

PinstripesPlus: What would you say is the strongest part of your game? What is your strongest asset as a ball player?

Duncan: My work ethic. I've seen a whole bunch of guys with tons of potential. Once you get to the higher levels, the competition levels off. I believe the ones that want it more will be the ones that make it. If you do your best, you'll get your shot.

PinstripesPlus: What is the one area you believe you need to improve on the most?

Duncan: I'd like to improve on my strikeouts. If you strikeout out too much, which I did at times last year, you give your team no chance. It is something I definitely need to improve on.

PinstripesPlus: Of the players you've played with thus far in the Yankees' system, who is the positional player, or players, with the highest upside in your mind?

Duncan: Well I can't pick just one guy. We have quite a few really good players. Hector Made is somebody I've played with the most so far. He has a cannon for an arm, great range, and has some good power potential. Pito Santos had one of the best half seasons last year. He tore it up offensively, and threw everybody out trying to steal. Melky Cabrera is another guy that is great offensively and defensively, while John Urick has good upside too because he can hit for average and power.

PinstripesPlus: Switching to the pitchers for a moment, which pitchers in the Yankees' farm system have the highest upside in your opinion?

Duncan: Again, I can't give you just one guy. Tyler Clippard has a very bright future ahead of him and he has lots of room to fill out. Steven White's a guy that once he improves he changeup, nobody will be able to hit him. Jeff Karstens is a guy that just gets people out. Edward Sierra has unbelievable stuff and could be really good as well. Paul Thorp is another guy that is pretty impressive. He didn't blow a save while I was there last year and is lights out.

PinstripesPlus: Were there any guys that caught your eye at the Instructional Leagues last year?

Duncan: Chien-Ming Wang was rehabbing down there at the time. He has a really good fastball and changeup. Its hard to even know what it is when its coming at you. Phil Hughes looks refined for such a young age. Those two pitcher stood out in my mind.

PinstripesPlus: What about any positional players?

Duncan: Jonathan Poterson put on an absolute show in batting practice. He looks like he has a lot of power potential. Marcos Vechionacci looks to have a tremendous, tremendous upside. We worked out together a lot and he has a very bright future. would like to thank Eric Ducan for taking time out of his offseason to answer our questions. Check back often for future updates from Eric.

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