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On the offensive: the fifth spot in the lineup

February 26, 2008

Chris Duncan 

Today, our topic of discussion is chris duncan. most likely, he will be the cardinals 5th spot hitter in the lineup and I think their is still a chance that he might hit cleanup. let’s assume that he will hit 5th. so, what do we expect from chris this season?

well, it depends; is he going to be healthy or is he injured? as we saw last year, an injured chris duncan is a pretty bad hitter and a bad defender; which is worse than before when he was just bad offensively.

his statline from last year is very decieving. here are his numbers from last year: 127 GS/ 375 AB/ 21 HR/ 70 RBI/ 55 BB/ 123 SO/ .354 OBP/ .259 AVG. that line was desappointing to all of us because chris did not live up to expectations. his numbers from 2006 in which he played half a season were a lot better than this. he had 22 homers in 280 at bats a .363 obp and a .293 avg and his slugging percentage was about 100 points higher. so I ask the question again:what happened?

He had a groin injury that’s what happened. let’s take a look at his splits from last season. during the month of april, he hit pretty well for average; .317. he also collected 4 homers and 9 rbis. he had 26 total hits and most were singles. so, he was a decent but not for much power which can be observed by the number of extra base hits (4 homers and 5 doubles). may was not a good month avg wise but he did hit one more homer than april and collect 2 more rbis than april.

june and july were by far his best months offensively; expecially july in which he hit .348 with a .459 obp, 6 homers and 21 rbis.

then came the big drop off. this is when he most likely suffered his injury (it was a groin injury if I remember correctly; he also had that knee swelling and infection). he was a terrible offensive player. in 68 at bats, he had 13 hits, 1 homerun and 7 rbis. the most alarming thing here was that he only collected 8 walks to 27 (!) strikeouts. this summed up to a measely .276 obp and a .191 avg. pretty bad indeed. lets not talk about the couple of weeks he played in september before he was shut down for the rest of the season in which he hit .091. if you would like to see his monthly splits from last season, they are here.

so, what do I expect from him this season? if fully healthy, a lot. I expect him to be a very good offensive player and marginal defensively. sure, he can’t keep the pace that he set in the second half of 2006 but he surely can do better than 2007. he will do even better if he hits cleanup, sandwiched between pujols and glaus. let’s get to the guesstimation shall we? 142 G/ 525 AB/ 31 HR/ 97 RBI/ 133 SO/ 69 BB/ .355 OBP/ .275 AVG.

by that statline, you can guess that I’m thinking he will be almost an everyday starter with tony sitting him against some lefties and allowing him to hit against others. also, he finally plays a whole season and puts up 30+ homers and strikes out a whole lot, with the power comes the Ks; its the tradeoff one has to make with most hitters but there are some exceptions (pujols for example). let’s hope the knee and groin are all healed 100% so C-dunc can go out there become a very productive outfielder and provide some much needed lefty “pop” for the team that lacked it in the previous season.

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