Saturday, June 21, 2008

Elijah Dukes, Troubled Fantasy Baseball Star in the Making

Elijah Dukes (shown left in this 2007 Topps Heritage rookie baseball card) consistently showed 30/30 projectability throughout the minors and was one of the Devil Rays best prospects when he burst on the scene last year. His off the field problems are well documented and quickly started to derail the budding star’s season, and almost his baseball career. He finished last season batting only .190 and the desperate Washington Nationals were the only team willing to take a chance on him this year.

Despite having an excellent campaign in the Arizona Fall league after vowing to turn his life around, the 23 year old Dukes was an all but forgotten fantasy baseball sleeper heading into this season. Add in a hamstring injury in the first game of the season that put him out for a month and he wound up on the scrap heap in virtually every fantasy baseball league by mid-April.

Out of desperation in my NFBC league I watch Dukes closely once he got cut. We bought Elijah Dukes back for a paltry $13 the week before he came of the DL. A shoulder injury to Austin Kearns and a desperate Nationals team assured him off playing time. It was rough in May as Dukes basically got his spring training via forced duty, but June has been a different story. After a big night on Friday Elijah Dukes is up to a .270 BA and if you project his 122 ABs over a full season he’s showing 40 stolen base skills. He still has only 2 HRs but it looks like he’s heating up and I think the man-beast should start to produce at a 25 HR clip projected over a full season. Bottom line is this, Elijah Dukes seeks redemption and if your fantasy baseball team is in need of some I say buy now – we all need a little redemption.

Get Elijah Dukes baseball cards on eBay!

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