Mack Ade - Lucas Duda


Good morning.

Lucas Duda is one of the many New York Mets that are coming back from season ending surgery, but he has another problem in the streaks that continue to haunt his game.

Let’s look at some monthly batting averages over the past few years and the swing in results:

            2016 -            April: .256   May: .192
            2015 -            April: .325,  May: .276,  June: .187, July:  .178, Aug: .304
            2014 -            July: .293,  Aug: .214

No one questions whether Duda has the ability to hit in this game. And, he’s not the worst player to put a first baseman’s glove on his hand either. But one of his off-the-field decisions might have backfired on him big time.

Duda came off his best season in 2014 with a mad skill stat line… 30-HR, 92-RBIs… and the Mets offered him a 3-year, $30mil extension instead of playing out his arbitration years and going to free agency in 2018. Duda told the Mets to put the offer on the shelf and they would revisit it at the end of the season which, of course, they never did due to poor numbers and injuries.

The turning down of $30mil for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 season never made any sense to me. It still would have led up to a free agency year of 2018. Instead of the $30mil, Duda got $4.2mil out of the Mets in 2015, $6.725mil in 2016, and will be paid $7.25mil this season. That adds up to $18.175, which means his decision to pass on the 3-year contract, for the same years, left $11.825 on the table for no reason. What kind of dumb bunny does this?

Ex-Mack's Mets writer (come on back!), Stephen Guilbert, added -  

Lucas Duda makes the Mets better. A lot better. It's that simple. I could list all the reasons why, dive into the metrics, and end up in in a verbose James Loney-bashing spiral but the point of it will be this: The Mets need Duda at first base and they need to have him there for 150 games. If he can do that, he makes the entire lineup better, adds value in the field and ensures we avoid another Loney or Loney-type mainstay at a position that needs defensive consistency and actual offensive production. Regardless of Dominic Smith's development, regardless of Duda not signing an extension, and regardless of Duda's perceived "streakiness" (a term I have come to loathe...because baseball is a game of streakiness because that's how probability works and baseball is a game of probability and here I go down another spiral), he makes this lineup exponentially more imposing this year when the Mets are ring hunting. Mets fans need to stop bashing the guy and realize what they have. He's a big part of this team and one of the league's better overall first basemen when healthy.

I'll make a bold prediction: If and Yoenis Cespedes combine for 290 games played, the Mets finish in the top 10 in the MLB by wRC+.

Opinion – I guess it really doesn’t matter what my opinion is about this guy anymore. Best case scenario is he stays healthy, he hits, like, 40 home runs before the All-Star game, and we deal him off to another team trying to get to their pennant. Worst case scenario is he either slumps again, or his back goes out, and guys like T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores have to fill in until Dominic Smith is ready.

Either way, 2018 is Smith’s year and Duda will be history.

Very sad story about a guy that I always said had the sweetest swing of any Mets minor leaguers I have ever seen.


Thomas Brennan said...

Read that he is swinging very well and with power - and not overdoing his hitting routines which may have led to the stress fracture in the first place. May he be aggressive on zero and one strike counts and have a career year. I'd like to see him and Cespedes combine for 70 homers this year - even if Flores is the hitting platoon against lefties at 1B.

Against lefties, Duda is .224 career with just a .364 slug % and 200 Ks in 634 plate appearances. Only about .200 after 2011, his one good year hitting lefties when he hit .274 in 62 ABs.

On the other hand, Flores career against lefties is .268 with a .509 slug. In 2016, an amazing .340/.383/.710 in 107 PAs vs. lefties. Platoon is a no-brainer.

Mack Ade said...

No-brainer to you.

Tell this to Reese's friend...

Mack Ade said...

Going to be a sad day.

Just lost one of my old disc jockeys, Alan Colmes.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with Stephen's complaint about "streakiness." It's just a tired old line that many fans say. It's a "streaky" game, period. That's why batting "averages" are based on a model of 1,000 ABs. It's a game of "averages" and "percentages" -- SLG, OBP, BA, etc -- in tacit recognition of the streakiness (read: meaningless small sample) of the game. Sure, some players are more consistent than others, but they are the outliers.

I am also weary (and wary) of people cooking the stats to make an argument. Tom quotes Wilmer's 2016 stats against LHP but resorts to Duda's career stats, measuring apples to oranges, and conveniently ignoring the upturn in Duda's numbers vs. LHP.

This does not negate his POV. It's valid and reasonable to argue that Flores should get more time at 1B, but it's intellectually dishonest and manipulative to make that argument by cherry-picking the stats. Then to conclude that it's a "no-brainer" is, well, just weak. More brains should go into the analysis.

Sorry, but!


Richard Jones said...

To me Duda is like the Wheeler or Harvey of offensive players going into this year. You're really not sure what you're going to get.

It would be unlikely after missing almost a season but Duda showed spurts of being a legitimate power threat.

If the Mets strike lightening with Harvey, Duda and Wheeler it would move them from being a good team to being a great team.

Hobie said...

If have always thought of "streaky" a distant cousin of "clutch" which is also a notion without a sound statistical base beyond the background noise of happenstance.

The clutch analyses I have read kibosh the notion that performance in crucial situations vary from from overall performance by any significant measure for almost ballplayers. Somewhere I remember reading the Paul Molitor was the exception that proved the rule.

But I am not familiar with any attempt to quantify streakiness or attempt to rank those associated with such a characteristic. Maybe someone could point my in a fruitful dirction.

And I've thought about this concept, but never had the resource to calculate: Take a "sliding window" of, say, 30 AB and compute BA (or 30 PA and compute OBP or OPS) for each window. That is, for AB (or PA) 1-30, 2-31, 3-32...571-600, etc.) look at the VARIANCE of that statistic. Any thoughts?


Reese Kaplan said...

At $7 million plus he's a bargain if he hits in the 20+ HR range. However, he's not going to be worth a long term commitment of megabucks even if Dom Smith was not on the horizon, so there's no way he gets a QO. He, like any of the others slated to be gone at year's end -- Bruce, Granderson, Walker -- should all be in play at the trading deadline.

Eddie Corona said...

Great points.. Duda has been a guy who could carry the team for a 6-10 game stretch... and those games could be the difference between winning a Division...
I know he is slow but in his early years he was a high OBA guys... could moving him ahead of Cespedes be wise?
maybe seeing more fast balls would server him welll...when he is on he can wreck a game

bill metsiac said...

Seriously? If he's having a 2014-like season at the break, and we're serious CONTENDERS, we should be BUYERS, not sellers.

Yes, Grandy and Bruce may be expendible if Conforto and Nimmo are productive. But getting rid of Da Dude so Wilmer and/or Smith can play is what we due if we're Out of the race at the break.

The bigger question is what to do at the END of the season if he finishes like 2014. QO, extend, or let him walk for nothing and watch him sign with the Nats or Yankees?

THAT'S the dilemma.

Eddie Corona said...

Hard to argue with you Bill... is duda having a 2014 like seaosn then you cannot trade him in a year we are trying to win it all...
the only way to justify trading him is if he's having a 2016 like year... you may not get alot but the risk to platoon or bring up a rookie is not as great...

I am all about maximizing assets but sometimes you have to play roulette and go all in and worry about next year when it comes...

Problem is we have way too many of these types of players...

Thomas Brennan said...

I'll just repeat below what I wrote about Duda and Flores above - I was comparing apples to apples much more than Anon is indicating. I mentioned Flores' latest year - AND his career against lefties. And to Duda's advantage, his playing time has been more consistent than Flores, and it is harder for most young guys to hit well when used sporadically. I still think platoon is a no-brainer. I will bet Flores' 2017 #'s against lefties exceed his career .268/.509 split, and if so, what's not to love with a platoon?

"Against lefties, Duda is .224 career with just a .364 slug % and 200 Ks in 634 plate appearances. Only about .200 after 2011, his one good year hitting lefties when he hit .274 in 62 ABs.

On the other hand, Flores career against lefties is .268 with a .509 slug. In 2016, an amazing .340/.383/.710 in 107 PAs vs. lefties. Platoon is a no-brainer."

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