Tom Brennan –Yoenis Cespedes vs. Lucas Duda



Tom Brennan –Yoenis Cespedes vs. Lucas Duda 

Could a little tweak in Lucas Duda’s game give him Yoenis Cespedes production?  What do the numbers say? Can Cespedes do better? Let's see...

Simply, Duda and Cespedes are remarkably similar when their at career bats end with 0 or 1 strike (on a 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, or 3-1 pitch), which I refer to as "favorable counts.".


Duda’s splits, when his at bats end in those counts, are .347/.454/.654.

Cespedes’ splits, when his ABs end in those counts, are .364/.430/.674

Virtually interchangeable.

The problem for Duda is only 46.2% of his ABs end on those favorable counts, while Cespedes’ figure is 49.7%.   Duda’s lower rate means 90 less plate appearances ending in those counts than if he achieved Cespedes’ rate.  Stay with me here.


There is regression for Duda vs. Cespedes here (where at bats end with an unfavorable 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or 3-2 count), but Cespedes is not good in those counts either:

Duda’s splits, when his at bats end in those counts, are ugly: .163/.254/.281

Cespedes’ splits, when his ABs end in those counts, are UGH: .185/.242/.323

Both are poor on those counts, but Cespedes hits 22 points higher, and has 42 points higher on his slugging %.



Duda only puts the ball in play (or gets hit by a pitch) on the first pitch he sees 8.3% of the time.  Cespedes?  8.2%.  Both are clearly allergic to attacking the first pitch.   The more aggressive Daniel Murphy’s first pitch-ending-an-at-bat rate is 12.9%, 55% higher than those 2 guys.  No accident that his career batting average is much higher.


  1. Both hit incredibly better when the count does not slide to 2 strikes.
  2. Both frustratingly take a lot of early strikes, despite the fact that they hit drastically better when they don’t allow themselves to get to 2 strikes.
  3. Duda has a greater (and quite huge) production disparity between favorable and unfavorable counts, and hence a huge incentive to be more aggressive early in counts, especially with his free agency looming.
  4. Cespedes would be a superstar if he stopped taking as many early count pitches.  He is already close to being one, despite his reluctance to attack first pitches.
  5. Duda is about to turn 31,  Cespedes recently turned 31.  Both well enough along in Major League Doggie Years to immediately address and correct those flaws.

What do you think, readers? 
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy holidays to y'all.


Reese Kaplan said...

Duda's rookie campaign saw him hit .292 with 10 HRs and 50 RBIs in 300 ABs. If you doubled those numbers for a full season I think the club would be ecstatic even if it meant giving up about 10 HRs.

Adam Smith said...

Watching Duda take strike one down the middle is seriously frustrating. I didn't realize that Cespedes is in pretty much the same league on this. Now I'll get to be frustrated twice as often!

Thomas Brennan said...

Adam - So simple to change for both...and the numbers show exactly why they should.

They put up Ruthian #'s when they finish an AB on 0 or 1 strike.

And hit like Matt Harvey when they get to 2 strikes.

You'll always have good hitters taking a well-thrown strike (breaking ball when looking for a FB) or fouling a ball off, but ending your at bat on just 1 of every 12 at bats on the first pitch is too infrequent and frankly foolish. If they get very aggressive on fat first pitches, lots of good 1-0 counts will ensue as pitchers nibble. If Cespedes wants to ever hit 50, this is the formula.

Thomas Brennan said...

Encarnacion, the flavor of the day, ends his at bats on first pitch 10.1% and on counts ending in 0 or 1 strike 52.2% of the time...and signs for big bucks. If Lucas wants big bucks as a free agent, his lesser 8.3% and 46% numbers need to climb in 2017.

Mack's Mets © 2012