Duncan’s long journey culminates with draft 

click to enlarge Frank Duncan, who went to high school at Stuart Hall, went to Kansas to hone his skills, and was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft on Saturday. - JEFF JACOBSEN/2011 KANSAS ATHLETICS
  • Jeff Jacobsen/2011 kansas athletics
  • Frank Duncan, who went to high school at Stuart Hall, went to Kansas to hone his skills, and was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft on Saturday.

High draft picks have likely been on Major League Baseball radars since they were early in high school. They remained visible. They looked the part. They played for the "right" schools.

Frank Duncan was not a highly sought-after prospect during his senior season in The City at Stuart Hall High School. He played in a small league and at a small school.

Duncan was a productive right-handed pitcher and a pretty good hitter. He was an all-league player in the Bay Counties League, won two league championships, had all the accolades on the baseball field but lacked the scholarship offers.

But one of his coaches had a single connection that changed Duncan's fortunes completely. That coach had played for the coach at the University of Kansas. It took one phone call and one trip to San Francisco for him to be impressed enough to offer the then high school senior a spot on the team.

Three years later, Duncan found himself being drafted in the 39th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.

"I was pretty happy about it," said Duncan, who found out he was drafted through text messages. "It was just a pleasure to see my name get called no matter what round it was. It was a long trip and it was nice to finally get drafted."

Charley Johnson, who was Duncan's basketball coach at Stuart Hall, played college baseball and Kansas coach, Ritch Price, was his coach.

"We had our graduation the exact day [Duncan] was drafted so I was able to spread the word and everyone was super-excited," Johnson said. "This was something special for the school."

"The entire reason I'm at the University of Kansas is Charley Johnson," Duncan said. "You can't say enough of what he's done for me and my family. Just being able to be in contact with coach [Price] here and getting the opportunity to be seen, I wouldn't be anywhere near here if it weren't for coach Johnson."

But the Kansas junior has a decision to make. With another year of eligibility left, he can return to Lawrence, Kan., for his senior season or take the opportunity to play for the Indians right away.

"I honestly want to do what's best for me and my family," he said. "Obviously, it's been a dream of mine to play professional baseball my entire life. If they end up giving me an opportunity that makes my family happy, I'll actually take it."

Duncan was hardly the only local player to be drafted. On the first day of the draft, St. Ignatius' Matt Krook went No. 35 to the Miami Marlins and Serra High School's Jordan Paroubeck went 69th to the San Diego Padres.

Two other players with Peninsula high school ties were selected later on.

Burlingame right-hander Grant Goodman was taken in the 36th round by the Giants. St. Ignatius had its second player taken when outfielder Jackson Klein was taken in the 32nd round by the Atlanta Braves.

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Zack Farmer

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