Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think - 15

The Dude
“So whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean? What do I think?”
“Whaddya think about Lucas Duda for next year?”
“He’s coming off an injury.”
“An injury to the back.”
“I know.”
“It’s hard to tell with those things, but I’m leaning toward he’ll be all right.”
“Why do you say that?”
“First off, let me talk about my dear friends in the New York Press, or as I like to call them ‘The grass is always greener guys.’ They don’t give Lucas the credit he deserves.”
“For instance?”
“They’re always whining about his shortcomings. I won’t list them here, but I’ll get to them.”
“You always do manage to get around to saying things.”
“It’s a talent I have. Anyway, the press is always questioning his abilities. They think we should get someone else. Let’s remember something: in 2014 and 2015, he was one of the ten best first basemen in the majors. The press keeps holding him up to some standard, like he should be Babe Ruth or something. There’s 750 guys on the active rosters at any given moment. None of them is Babe Ruth.”
“So we’ve established what he’s not.”
“To a very demanding standard.”
“So what, in addition to being one of the 10 best, is he?”
“He’s a guy who has hit about 30 homers a season when well.”
“The ‘when well’ thing is the sticking point. Let’s remember he’s coming off back injury.” 
“Let’s address that.”
“You mean you’re actually going to stick to a subject?”
“Sometimes I have to pause in my narrative to give you some background on the story,--Now that reminds me of the time when--”
“--Yes, I certainly admire how you stick to a story.”
“You bet. Now what was I saying?”
“You were going to talk about Duda’s injury.”
“Oh, yes. He had a back injury, and everyone’s worried that he won’t have as much torque in his swing. This is a consideration. It was a consideration with Don Mattingly when he played. However, if it were a problem, it might work to Duda’s benefit.”
“How’s that?”
“I have never seen anyone smack so many shots into the middle of a shift and make out as that guy. If he’s going to lose some torque in his swing, it could have him spraying balls all over the place, and force the fielders to cover the whole field. He’d use the Wee Willie Keeler philosophy a little more often.”
“But he’s a homerun hitter.”
“He certainly is. And so is Ryan Howard. But both Duda and Howard have the power to send the ball over the fence in the opposite field. Howard makes a living off it, and Duda’s hit enough to shoe he can do it too. Lucas does not necessarily need that much torque.”
“You like the idea of hitting to the opposite field?”
“Not to be sneezed at. I’ll go back to my example of a tie game, bottom of the ninth, two out, guy on third; you only need a single. Is it smarter to try to hit to the right side with three guys over there, or to the left side where they’ve got a Lonely Guy?”
“But can Duda do that?”
“He’s done it.”
“Back in 2011, when he was just a rookie, he hit .292. He managed that by hitting an awful lot of balls to the opposite side. Once he was established, he started concentrating on home runs and pulling. Average went down; homers went up.”
“Homers buy you Cadillacs, single buy you Chevies.”
“Both buy you MVPs.”
“Yeah, but how do you manage that?”
“Be smart. Look at the numbers. Duda kills when he’s got no strikes on him, he’s OK with one strike, and stinks when he’s got two strikes. I think he’s got to pull back on the swing when he’s behind in the count, particularly with a guy on third with less than two outs.”
“So that’s all he’s got to do?”
“No. The last part he needs help on. The Co-Chairmen of Swagger on this team, Cespedes and Syndergaard, need to take Lucas aside and teach him self-confidence. They’ve got to transform him into a fire-breathing, pitcher-eating monster when he comes to bat. We all know he’s a gentle giant, and he can continue to be that in the clubhouse, but I think he can stand to be a little more aggressive when he’s hitting.”
“To summarize...?”
“Be aggressive. Be smart. Let’s see how you’ve recovered from the surgery. Don’t listen to all those people who think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”
“I’m shocked.”
“You were clear and concise.”
“You should see how clear and concise I am with a fresh drink in front of me.”

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.

You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.


eraff said...

I liked Duda better as a Right to Left Gap Hitter with Great Natural Power---Kind of an Olerud LIGHT.

He's a Good Player---i am concerned With The VERTEBRAL COLUMN: Walker, Wright, Duda

Eddie Corona said...

Duda may suffer a little of the Beltran situation...
Beltran striking out may be the same as Duda not being able to throw to home plate...
A MLB player should be able to throw a routine ball to home plate... I know that will always haunt me when I think of DUDA...

Mack Ade said...

It's Duda's contract year. I expect, if he's healthy, a big bat out of him this season.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Mack -- and then what? Do they try to retain him, theoretically blocking Dom Smith, or let him walk away for nothing? Neither is attractive. Trading him mid-season and muddling through with Flores at 1B and getting a big piece in return seems more intelligent, but that means it won't be done.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

You have to operate a team successfully with half your brain in the future and the other half in the present (insert snarky Terry comment here...).

The fact is there is no future for Duda as a Met in 2018.

Also, if he plays the first half of the season healthy, probably something is going to go wrong in the later part of the season.

Lastly, he's streaky. A strong first half will probably lead to a weaker second half.

Dominic Smith will be hitting close to .400 by the end of June in AAA.

You do the rest of this answer.

Thomas Brennan said...

I am disappointed that Duda's flash of brilliance in 2011 may never be seen from him again.

In 2010, his brief stint was awful, deer-stuck-in-headlights stuff.

He started 2011 a little better, but launched in the 2nd half.

In July, August and Sept 2011, he had 273 plate appearances, 28 extra base hits, struck out only 43 times, and hit .311/.395/.525 over that stretch.

Lucas, whatever you did then, do it again now.

Richard Herr said...

Eddie, I agree with the Beltran and the throw home thing. However, I was always impressed with how accurate Duda's arm was when he was turning 3-6-3 double plays. I have a hard time remembering any other time he made a bad throw.
"You can build bridges all of your life. You could have built a thousand bridges. BUT..."
Thomas - I remember 2011. He was struggling to find himself, and then he started serving balls out to left field, and his average went up. In subsequent years, he started hitting more home runs and pulling the ball into the heart of the shift that they started putting on him. In 2011 he hit a home run ever 35 plate appearances. After that it was once every twenty PAs.

Mack's Mets © 2012