Assessing Elijah Dukes’ Value

Most 25-year-olds don't hit the open market, especially if they have a .349 career on base percentage and a track record of success in the minors. A .280/.369/.451 minor league batting line is better than average, but Elijah Dukes is not your average outfielder. 

The reputation he developed as a trouble-maker has been hard to shed and there's been little reported interest in Dukes since the Nationals released him about a month ago. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted (via Twitter) that multiple teams were interested in late March, but there's been no reported interest in Dukes since.

Dukes seemed like a promising player as recently as last spring, but Ben Goessling of says the Nats released Dukes because of his on-field performance (Twitter link). Dukes' outfield defense is below average, according to UZR, and his on base and slugging percentages dropped considerably last year, so the Nationals have a point.

Even though Dukes had a poor season last year, he gets on base, he's young and he's controllable. He is a pre-arbitration player, so the team that signs Dukes will have the rights to his services through 2013. There's no doubt that Dukes' past limits interest in him, but he has enough positives that it would be surprising not too see some club sign Dukes.

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