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Nunez has eyes on breakout season in 2014

Yankees hoping potential turns to production for talented infielder
02/25/2014 11:02 AM ET
By Doug Williams

Background: Eduardo Nuñez is a 26-year-old Dominican infielder for the New York Yankees. He's been in the big leagues for four seasons now and is a career .267 hitter. A lot has been expected of Nuñez so far in his career and it's unknown whether or not he'll live up to the hype, but 2014 will be the first season in which he is directly competing for a job with the Yankees, which will be the starting third base role.

2013 Season: 2013 was a tough one for Nuñez, who was on and off the DL for much of the campaign. He played in 90 games, hitting .260 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. He split time at shortstop and third base and was much better at the hot corner, where he only made two of his 14 errors on the season.

Greatest Strength: Nuñez is a good athlete. He had four triples last season and will run the bases all day long -- albeit without a helmet -- if he can. He has the potential to steal bases as well, and had a career high in SBs in 2011 with 22. Similar to Ichiro, Nuñez gets a lot of his hits by driving the ball directly into the ground and beating it out for an infield single, and those kind of hitters tend to avoid slumps.

Greatest Weakness: Nobody really knows what to expect out of Eduardo Nuñez at this point. Early in his career, scouts would say that his glove is a mystery, but his bat will carry his productivity. Well in 2013, especially when he played third base, it was the other way around. The offense that Nuñez was projected to have coming out of the minor leagues has yet to arrive, and his glove is still a question mark.

Prediction: Nuñez is still young, and 2014 is a big chance for him to make a splash. If he has a big spring, he could potentially win the starting job at third base. In order for him to keep it, he would need to play consistently in the field and hit above .280. If he is able to do that, the Yankees would suddenly have a home-grown, 26-year-old infielder in their everyday lineup. 

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