Thursday, March 12, 2009
Elijah Dukes 2009
Elijah Dukes is an interesting sleeper for 2009. In 276 at bats last year he hit 13 home runs and stole 13 bases. Projected to a full season, that looks like he has an outside shot at 30 homers and 30 steals. His minor league record fully supports the idea that he could continue to show that kind of power, although I'd expect his actual stolen base totals to be a little lower. The one question with Dukes at this point (other than whether he can stay healthy and out of trouble) is whether he'll ever be able to hit for high batting averages in the major leagues. At 24 years old, I wouldn't bet against him developing that ability. And if you're in a league that uses on base percentage instead of batting average (like the Yahoo league I've talked about previously), then he's likely to be a star. One thing working against Dukes this year will be the presence of Josh Willingham as a very capable 4th outfielder for the Nationals. That could potentially eat into Dukes' at bats. On the other hand, Dukes (like Ryan Spilborghs, who I profiled yesterday) is the type of player for whom projecting a strong half season of at bats into full season stats is appropriate. What I mean by that is that his half season of at bats were compiled in roughly half of a season...not stretched out evenly throughout the season. That's important, because it means that he likely wasn't benefiting from a particularly skewed distribution of righties versus lefties among opposing pitchers.