30 Players in 30 Days: Elijah Dukes

Elijah Dukes


elijah dukes1.JPGElijah Dukes came into his second season with the Nationals hoping to make an improvement over last year’s injury-riddled season. He faced a different sort of challenge this year when he was sent down to the Minor Leagues for a month following the trade for Nyjer Morgan on July 1. That did not stop this young outfielder from continuing to try to improve his play on the field.


 elijah dukes3.JPGBefore being sent down, Dukes batted .244/.308/.415 with six home runs and 30 RBI. When he returned to the Majors on August 1, he came with a new attitude towards the game which resulted in some offensive improvements. While he wasn’t hitting the ball as hard, his slugging percentage dropped to .368, he increased his batting average by 13 points and raised his OBP to .366. This can be attributed mostly to increased patience at the plate. Dukes picked up 28 walks in 50 games (205 PA) in the second half of the season as compared to 18 walks in the first 57 games (211 PA).

Dukes was acquired by the Nationals from the Rays prior to the 2008 season. While he missed 72 games due to injuries, he still managed to set career highs across the board. He was among the team leaders in OBP (.386) and slugging percentage (.478) and ranked fourth overall in the NL in OPS after June 5, 2008. Yet surgery on a meniscus tear and subsequent leg injuries kept him out for 72 games.


 This offseason, you can follow Dukes as he plays for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League. Looking ahead to next year, Dukes needs to try to stay healthy as he has been plagued by knee injuries in the past. This winter, he will need to work on hitting breaking balls.  Sliders are especially troublesome for him. Dukes is currently jockeying to become the full time right fielder, a role that, if he can stay healthy for the whole season, he can certainly flourish in.

Elijah Dukes Final Stats

G

AB

R

H

TB

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

107

364

38

91

143

20

4

8

58

46

2

74

3

10

.250

.337

.393

.729

1 Comment

Com’on you gotta be kidding. This guy sits around all winter doing nothing. He will probably get in trouble in DR as well. This is the laziest player on the team. His personal problems are insurmountable and will only lead to future negative headlines for the Nats if he isn’t released pronto. Time to cut bait and find another way to fish for a rightfielder.

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