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).

Let me 'splain, Lucy.

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?


Thomas Brennan said...

Another comparison I think is pertinent is Mark Teixera. in 2015, he got to 2 strike counts only 47% of the time, versus Duda's nearly 54%. Mark's 2015 numbers are clearly better, but it is because, IMO, primarily that fact, and also because (of course) Yankee Stadium is very lefty-conducive. He also is a better hitter than Duda in 2 strike counts - I think Duda is better in 0 or 1 strike counts. if he can do that well in zero and 1 strike counts, be more aggressive and be rewarded

Anonymous said...

It's very difficult to absorb these numbers without context. Need to compare them to league averages, etc. Also, my personal bias is the triple slash line: BA/OBP/SLG, which quickly tells you everything you need to know.

That said, two things:

1) I essentially agree, and I've run some of those numbers in the past. Working deep counts does not serve Lucas well.

2) I think you are too dismissive of the back injury, which might be far more serious than we've been told. Since his return, I think he's hitting .120 without power. Might be rust, but why rest him last night? I think he's trying to gut it out. Which is a good thing. That's baseball, everybody is dealing with something.

I hope he can get untracked. At this point, I'm more worried about the back than the approach. Again, I haven't seen that written about or talk about, just my personal observation-slash-wild guess.

James Preller

Anonymous said...

I thought this was going to be a discussion about whether to offer him a long-term contract, considering Cespedes is now in play.

Or at least take-on the issue of whether the offer the Mets made to Duda in Spring Training should still be on the table come next year.

Mack Ade said...

I happen to be writing about Duda this weekend so I will hold up until then to express my thoughts about him in the future.

Thomas Brennan said...

I wanted to not get into future Duda contract issues and just focus on his hitting in the here and now. Later would be good - doing it now is premature in my opinion - he could stink from here on out, or explode. That would enter into any decisions.

James, I was mad at Duda for not going on DL the first time he was hurt in August and sat out 7 games, as it could have been retro for just 1 more week, and then aggravating it and going out for 3 weeks.

Players just have to rest certain injuries to not exacerbate them and be 100%. Who knows if he sat out the full 2 weeks the first time in August if he would have fully healed.

Thomas Brennan said...

Thinking of Cespedes, and having referred to Teixera above, Mark hit a thunderous .286 up to age 30, which Cespedes is about to turn, But Teixera has hit only .240 since. That over-30 risk must keep GMs awake at night.

James Preller said...

Mets signed Granderson at age 32 at 4/$60. Signing Cespedes for 7 years at age 30 seems like a similar risk, though he earns more for obvious reasons (he's better). If you go into that deal, you know that the final two years will likely be downside. At same time, with Cespedes, you get him younger -- more prime years.

On Duda's extension, I'll let Mack have his say and we can discuss it there. My short answer: maybe.

Thomas Brennan said...

@ James

My first article for Mack's Mets in June 2014 addressed the same subject on Duda at that point in time, comparing his tendencies to those of Puig and Cabrera. If you'd like to look at it as a point of comparison:

Mack's Mets © 2012