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.


Mack Ade said...

The comment I just posted didn't come out right...

My guess is most or all hitters have a lower BA if they complete a hit with 2 strikes on them, rather than 1 or none.

I think lots of us were hard on Duda early on.

thunder12k said...

I wonder what some of the top hitters in the league hit with 2 strikes

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree that in almost all cases there would be a large disparity if you looked at other hitters too, but without studying it, my guess is Lucas has a greater disparity than most.

So he'd gain the most, comparatively, by being "intelligently more aggressive" (e.g, no gazing at first pitch, belt high fastballs out over the plate for strike one or strike 2).

Thomas Brennan said...

Excellent question, Thunder.

I looked at two peer hitters. The results? Astounding.

Duda is at 46% of his at bats with less than 2 strikes when they end. Miguel Cabrera? 53%.
Yasiel Puig? 58%.

Miguel hit .397 with only a .661 slug % on 1 strike or less. .217 with a .363 slug on 2 strikes.

Puig hit .384/.630 on 1 strike or less. .171/.270 on 2 strikes.

The main difference? The aggression rate - 58% and 53% for the other two, only .46% for Duda. All 3 are Babe Ruth on one strike or less, and Rick Ankiel when they get to 2 strikes.

So it supports my conclusion. Duda goes from 46% to 55% next year, huge #'s will most likely follow.

Mack Ade said...

I will say this...

Pitchers learned to respect the fact that Duda learned how to be patient in the box and draw more walks... this had to lead to more 2 strike pitches in the box

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree about his patience and drawing walks. He was far too patient early, and got himself into (very) bad hitters counts too much. June on big improvement. Hopefully one more step forward in 2015. I want to be clear I am not asking for him to free swing like Alfonso Soriano and never walk.

I think Duda gets it, and if the fences come in, that he'll hit forty taters in 2015 with some added aggressiveness. I want to see that, man!

Mack's Mets © 2012