7/10/15

LISTENING SKILLS

3 comments

LISTENING SKILLS

The first article I ever wrote for Mack Mets, a little over a year ago, was about Lucas Duda. At the time I had observed that Lucas was particularly poor when his at bats reach the 2 strike stage.

After I wrote the article, from June 2014 through the end of that season, Lucas hit extremely well; he was being more aggressive and not getting into as many counts where he ended up with two strikes on him, whether 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or 3-2.

After his fine completion to the 2014 season, Lucas got off to an excellent start in 2015 and it appeared that Lucas was well on his way to becoming a star in the National League.  Folks saying he should be the starter at 1B in the All Star game.

Unfortunately, June hit, followed by July, and Lucas in 32 games has hit .162 with a single home run and a feeble 9 RBIs in that timeframe.

So I decided to take another look at Lucas's 2015 statistics; much to my chagrin, I noted that the 2 strike problem had re-emerged.  Apparently he wasn’t really listening after all.

Before you read the rest of this article, consider what you might think a hitter of Lucas's stature should be able to do when he his at bat ends, and he either makes an out or gets on base, with a count of 2-2 or with a count of 3-2. .200? .190?  

Nope.  As it turns out, in 2015, when the account gets to 2-2 or 3-2 and Lucas either makes out or get on base on that particular pitch, the results are far from pretty.  Far worse than .190 or .200.  Disastrous, actually.

In fact he is 7-68 in those 2-2 hitting count situations, which is .103 hitting.

That’s got to be a fluke.  Surely he is much better on 3-2 counts.

Well, not exactly.  When the  at bat count gets to 3-2, Lucas has been to bat 52 such times this year - he's walked 21 times, but in the 31 other 3-2 count at bats, he is a ghastly 3-31 (.097).

So, when Lucas' at bats end on either 2-2 or 3-2 counts, he is hitting 10 for 99 (.101). Could any starting hitter in baseball be worse?  Hard to imagine.

So what is the solution?  

I think it is simple...Duda needs to be all-out more aggressive in 0 strike and 1 strike counts, to seriously reduce the percentage of at bats that end up reaching 2 strikes.  Because 2 strike counts for Duda are lethal, to him and to the Mets.  Lucas, don't work the count - swing at almost any early-in-the-count strikes.  Remove "taking strikes" from your vocabulary.
 
I'd rather see him get swing happy, hit .210, and blast 40 homers.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe there is another answer. Anyone else have any suggestions for Lucas?

3 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Good stuff.

And let me tell this to everyone that reads here.

I couldn't do this blog anymore without Tom, Chris, Reese, and Ernest. Tom has especially picked me up on the Minor League Report and I thank him for this added burden during his pre-work time.

Anyway, back to Duda.

Watching him right now is painful and I'm sure, like Ike Davis in the past, he has a thousand people telling him what to do right now.

What he needs is to take a break from this game during the all-star break and not even turn on the television or pick up a bat in his backyard.

Then, go back into the batting cage and take his normal warm-up, knowing that no pitcher in the league is going to pitch him a ball early down the pipe. They know he's fly fishing and Duda has to stop doing this in order to REALLY get pitched to.

His best hitting came when he was also walking a lot... You don't walk swinging at bad pitches.

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Mack.

Absolutely, Duda should avoid swinging at non strikes or strikes on the corners in zero strike counts. Everything else s/b attacked. If pitchers see that, they'll nibble and try to make him fish. Don't bite. Get ahead in the count, then do damage. Or try to do damage on the first pitch if even a half decent strike. Everyone gets to 2 strikes a lot. He needs to get there a lot less. Because he is awful in 2 strike counts. And it is not just this year.

But you're right. He has never been nearly this bad against righties, so he needs to get back to how he's hit righties ever since AAA. Which is quite well, until this year.

If it the influence of Kevin Long, thank him for his help with lefties up to now, and tell him you I'll take it from here. And go back to what worked for you in the past, as Mack suggested.

Hobie said...

Tom-

Do you know if he GFTS TO x-2 mire by swinging at OOZ pitches (i.e. he is aggressive) or he gets in a hole be taking early.

I have the feeling (but don;t really know) his strike-3's are nearly 50-50 take/swing-and-miss. What is the split for strile-1 & strike-2?

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