In the midst of the Mets' offensive surge, Lucas Duda has largely been a quiet, perhaps mediocre performer.
I've written it before, and will again. I think his approach is too passive. (In that regard, see picture of Duda with bat on shoulder, above).
He has scored 58 runs and driven in 57 in 500 plate appearances through September 15. Not good. Mediocre. Kind of bad, actually.
As I have noted in the past, my take is that he allows counts to get to 2 strikes too often in working the pitcher. When he gets there, it isn't at all pretty:
When he finishes ABs on these 2 strike counts, here is how he does:
0-2: 9 for 42, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 22 K
1-2: 15 for 73, 4 doubles, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 35 K
2-2: 9 for 89, 0 doubles, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 51 K
3-2: 5 for 42, 2 doubles, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 22 K, 30 BB
All of that adds up to 38 for 246 (.154), and just 8 doubles, 4 HRs, 15 RBIs, and 30 walks. In a word, as I have noted before, awful when he gets to 2 strikes. At least, that is how I see it.
But golly gee, when he finishes his at bats on a 0 strike count (that is, 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0), he is 35 for 88, with 18 walks, 8 doubles, 11 homers, and 30 RBIs. What a complete contrast.
On at bats ending on some version of a 1 strike count (0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1), he is 30 for 93, with 9 walks, 11 doubles and 6 HRs. Not as good as with at bats ending with no strikes, but those 1 strike #s are still quite solid. Prety darned good, actually.
So Duda is horrible with 2 strike counts, but he ends his at bats on 2 strike counts a very high 281 out of 500 times (56.2%), and only 43.8% of the time on zero strike and one strike counts, when he hits incredibly well.
He also lets pitchers off the hook too much, in my opinion, as he has walked 18 times on 3-0 counts, put no balls in play, and scored once on those (and note, just 5 intentional walks all year). He is also 5 for 42 with 30 walks on 3-2 counts. Too many walks, too few hits on that 3-2 count, in my opinion.
The proof is in the low runs scored total - just 37 all year when he has not scored by a homer.
And 129 strikeouts in 500 PAs is also a poor rate. Can't reach base if you are whiffing.
I recognize some counts get to 2 strikes due to Lucas fouling off or swinging through pitches, and I also am aware he has had back issues. But 56% of his at bats ending on 2 strikes is too high, and given his great success with 0 or 1 strike, is bad baseball. Simply put, he takes too much.
Let's look up just one guy to see what his comparable ratios are: Daniel Murphy. Murphy has been to the plate nearly the same number of times. He's finished his at bats with 0 or 1 strike counts 65.6% versus Duda's 44%, a stark contrast. And the less powerful Murph has driven in 5 more runs than Duda in 22 less plate appearances.
My armchair advice? Ramp up the aggression. Please be more aggressive, Lucas, and join the Mets' offensive festivities in full force. If you do, the offense will be more like Top Dog Toronto's.
What do you think, readers?