DUDA UPDATE by Tom Brennan:
I first wrote back in the end of May about Lucas Duda’s hesitance in attacking the ball, and how poorly he did when he got to 2 strikes.
In the spring, Duda was my guy over Ike. I saw Lucas as a guy who would offensively benefit from getting out of left field, with steady play at 1B, and being on a platoon basis to avoid average-sagging lefties.
I felt (as many Met fans have) that he also just needed to get more aggressive early in counts to unleash the inner beast.
The stats at the end of May bore that out, and the stats don’t lie. Awesome when his at bats end with 0 or 1 strike, terrible when he gets to 2 strikes.
Updated thru June 16, I noticed Big Luke had been to the plate 230 times. Of those, when his at bat ends on the first pitch or on 1-0, he was amazing. The trouble is, that was only about 13% of his at bats. The other 87% were drastically worse.
In a late July update, he had raised that very low mid-June 13% rate to nearly 16%, a significant increase – and the improvement in the Big Dude was becoming more apparent to friend and foe alike.
The good news was he was finally getting it – 2 strike counts in any combination? AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
So fast-forward to season’s end – 30 homers and 92 RBIs at season’s end, in just 138 starts! And he only had 18 official at bats in games he did not start. So if he’d started 155 games, maybe he gets closer to 35 and 100. Highly impressive in the current offense-challenged world of baseball we find ourselves in.
So let me analyze what he did, in a slightly different way. Ignoring his hitting vs. lefties, which everybody knows he needs to focus on, it was a tale of two scenarios:
If his at bat ended when he had one strike or less (0-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1), he did this:
- 83 for 236 (.351), 15 doubles, 21 homers, 63 RBIs, .682 slug %.
If his at bat ended on two strike counts, he did (or more appropriately did not) do this:
- 47 for 278 (.169), 12 doubles, 9 homers, 27 RBIs, .309 slug %.
So, official at bats ending in 1 strike or less just 46% of the time, but 70% of his RBIs.
Suggested 2015 Gameplan:
Get that % up to 55% or so. A huge year is sure to follow. How to do that? Be intelligently aggressive from game 1 on.
The numbers themselves recommend that approach highly.
So the 2015 coast is clear for Duda – ATTACK.