Minor Matters: Duncan Not Panning Out
Eric Duncan, the Yankees’ former top prospect and first round pick back in 2003, is not panning out as expected. It’s gotten bad enough that he’s pretty well behind both Juan Miranda and Shelley Duncan just on the first base depth chart at Triple-A. Duncan was the team’s top prospect in 2005, despite batting just .235 in Double-A that year. He managed to improve his numbers at Double-A in 2006 before a promotion to Triple-A, but since the end of ‘06, he’s fallen off the radar as a top prospect in the organization. There’s still time for Duncan to get his act together. He’s just 23 and has steadily improved his Triple-A numbers. Duncan’s K rate is down this year, but the key for him will be staying healthy after a thumb injury cost him about six weeks last season. If Duncan can carve out a bigger role for himself, he could get a September call, but the chances of him landing an everyday job in the bigs seem to be fading fast.
Duncan’s teammate, Jason Lane, appears to be in no rush to get back to the Show. Discussed as someone in the mix for the Yanks’ first base job this spring, Lane is scuffling badly at Triple-A. He’s stuck in a 4-for-29 skid and is not being productive, with just 10 RBI in 20 games after driving in 41 in 50 games in Triple-A last season. If Lane can’t hit Triple-A pitching, how the hell is he supposed to prove that he still can’t hit major league pitching? At the age of 31, it’s time to consider Lane an organizational player.