We All Need To Get Off Duncan's Back

Justin HulseyCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 06:  Chris Duncan #16 of the St. Louis Cardinals stands on first base against the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day on April 6, 2009  at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Ok, so I know that this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being a GM, but I have to post something about it. While the majority of my articles will center on what I would do as the Cardinals’ GM, I will post something like this every once in a while. This is just me posting something as a Cardinal fan.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a Chris Duncan criticism, I would buy the Cardinals. All I hear when somebody talks about him is insults on the guy’s defense. While he is not the best left fielder in the world, he does much more good for us than he does bad. Sure, he is the definition of liability, but our lineup would be in trouble – especially this year – without the slugging outfielder.

Last year, Duncan was not very effective due to injury, but do you remember his 2007 season? He played in a little over half of the games, and still managed to crank out 21 homers and 70 RBIs. 2007 was not our greatest season, but what would we have done in the outfield without Chris Duncan? Colby Rasmus would have likely been in the big leagues FAR before he should have, which may have crippled his career. Thinking about it now, we may not have the super-“potentialed” Colby Rasmus (dude gets better every day) that we have now. Knowing Jockety, Rasmus would have likely been traded for a veteran outfielder.

Before this season, I had mixed emotions about Duncan. At one point I wanted MO to trade Duncan while he has value. I did not like Duncan, the way he presented himself, and the fact that his dad was our pitching coach. I sometimes thought Dunc was getting playing time just because his dad.

However, my views on Duncan have done a full 180. Going into Spring Training, I noticed that Duncan could be a serious sleeper going into the 2009 campaign. I think people kinda forgot about his breakout 2007 season in the midst of his injuries. In the offseason, Duncan got everything figured out with surgeries and the full nine yards. He worked and worked to come back healthy and help the team once again. Well, he is healthy for the first time since ’07 and is in the best stretch of baseball he has ever played.

Today, Duncan went 2-for-5 with THREE RBIs in a tight 8-7, 10 inning affair. He has five hits in the previous three games. Think about this: Duncan has been a part of 43 of the runs we have posted this season. Believe it or not, Duncan has either scored or batted in 30% of our team’s runs. That is astounding. Yet, I keep on hearing, time after time, the insults raining down on him about his defense. PEOPLE, open up your eyes and realize that we have NO business bagging on this guy. He is the real deal. Expect this to keep up. Maybe not the 150 RBIs he is on pace for, but I would not be surprised if he developed into a 30 homerun, 110 RBI hitter.

It’s not like Duncan is the worst defender on our team or anything. Is he? Khalil Greene has twice as many errors as Duncan does, and Pujols is right behind Greene with five errors. Duncan may be the most recognized bad-defender on our team due to the plays he does screw up. I won’t sugar-coat it for you… A big-league player should never drop a routine flyball. But I am going to stop right there because, again, we have NO business trashing this guy. He helps our team more than anyone realizes.

I’m just saying… IF I was John Mozeliak, I would be telling our fans to shut up, because Chris Duncan is a stud at the plate.