Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chris Duncan: Slam Dunc!

Derrick Goold answers some questions on PostCards and one of those is what a lot of fans are wondering: Can Chris Duncan win the ROY award?
DG: If he had the opportunity to play and entire season and had kept this same pace, then he’d be one of the favorites for the award, certainly. But this crop of rookies – youth, Generation OPS, has been the story of this season — has a headstart on Duncan and even Ryan Howard-like finish to the final month would only put him on the fringe of the conversation. Florida’s Dan Uggla has 19 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .289 average. His numbers not only rank at or near the top for rookies, but he’s arguably the most productive second baseman in the game. Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been/will be lauded as the next Scott Rolen, and he’s answered that expectation with Gold Glove play at the corner and 83 RBIs. Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder hasn’t disappointed with 22 home runs. These are just a few of the NL rookies ahead of Duncan on the ROY depth chart.

It does beg the question on what might have Duncan done with a full season at the current (and unrealistic) pace. “Slam Dunc”, as Bernie Miklasz so deftly nicknamed him, is averaging a home run every 8.3 at-bats. With the 453 at-bats Uggla has had, that would be 38 home runs. Coupled with that .345 average, you’re not talking ROY anymore but another acronym — MVP.

So that’s not the way to calcuate late it. Let’s look at his entire season for help. Combining his major- and minor-league numbers from this season, he’s hit .307 with 21 home runs and 60 RBIs over 349 at-bats. If he kept that pace over a full season you’re looking at him having, right now, 25 to 28 home runs and more than 75 RBIs. That’s a ROY favorite.

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