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Lucas Duda Everyday Player
10-18-2017, 08:04 PM
Post: #1
Lucas Duda Everyday Player
Over the final six months, Lucas Duda has probably heard a A.J. Cann Jersey lot about last seasons .180 batting average against left-handers. A quick search reveals over fifty percent millions of hits for Lucas Duda .180 and all the leads to the first five pages were relevant. Fortunately for Duda, that unsightly .180 batting average in only 125 plate appearances isn't relevant with regards to evaluating him like a hitter. Duda had a great season in 2014 that saw him record 30 home runs and establish himself as one of the better hitters within the league, despite questions persisting about his capability to handle left-handed pitching. With two home runs yesterday off left-handed pitchers, Duda equaled his total from all of 2014 in a single day. With four of his five home runs on the season coming off of southpaws complementing his power surge against righties from last season, Duda has helped cement his status as an everyday player and removed the prospect of a platoon in the equation. After Dudas poor results against left-handers last season, the brand new York Mets could have placed Duda in a platoon, benching him against lefties. Duda never had particularly good minor-league numbers against lefties, either, reinforcing the logic of these moving. After the signing of Michael Cuddyer, there was some talk of letting Cuddyer take plate appearances at first base against lefties and making Duda a straight platoon player. Following the signing, Duda said all the right things but maintained confidence he could still hit lefties. As far because the lefties go, Personally i think as with yesteryear Ive hit lefties a little bit better than Ive shownBut if he needs to spell me at first base versus lefties, whatever will work for the team, whatever is going to help us win, Im all for. Ill appear the bench or are available in late in the game or anything. Almost anything to help us win. Thats our main goal. Weve reached do it this year. Making the decision in regards to a left-handed hitter with higher talent and solid overall hitting numbers is a tough one. Platoon statistics for hitters dont stabilize until around 1,000 plate appearances, but waiting five to eight seasons to determine if your lefty like Duda will come around requires patience that is difficult when better options are immediately available. Since the beginning of 2011, there are 48 left-handed hitters, including Duda, with at least 500 plate appearances against lefties. The four best left-handed hitters facing lefties during that time happen to be Joey Votto, David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, and Curtis Granderson, each having a wRC+ of at least 120 during the last five years. Those players had varying examples of succe s against lefties to start their careers. Joey Votto was always good against lefties, with a 132 wRC+ in his first 619 plate appearances against lefties, and Prince Fielder was decent having a 105 wRC+ in his first three full seasons. Curtis Granderson did not fare too, producing a poor wRC+ of 72 through his first 472 plate appearances. Even removing David Ortizs Minnesota Twins seasons and focusing solely on his Boston Red Sox career, David Ortiz had just an 81 wRC+ in 471 plate appearances during his first three years in Boston. Heading into this year, Lucas Duda has recorded a 75 wRC Brynden Trawick Jersey + against left-handers in 469 plate appearances. Focusing in around the .180 batting average, or even his overall batting line, from 2014 is simply too small of a sample, just as relying completely on his fast start in 2015 would be a mistake. So far in 2015, Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Morse, Mike Napoli, Chase Utley, and Melky Cabrera all have a sub-70 wRC+ within the same number of plate appearances as Duda had last season against lefties. While those players may have some underlying i sues causing their poor performance so far, we'd never look solely in their performance in 2015 and expect exactly the same miserable production going forward. After showing promise like a hitter this year, Duda slumped a little during his sophomore season, but has posted better numbers in every from the last two seasons, leading Duda towards star territory last season. Since relocating to first base, his WAR is not held down by his disastrous fielding, and over the final twelve months his 4.6 WAR is 26th among all qualified hitters. His 145 wRC+ ranks eleventh by that measure, and the 30 home runs place him tenth for the reason that time. Among first basemen in the last year, he sits behind only Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Abreu and that he ranks in front of Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, and Edwin Encarnacion. His early-season power surge against left-handed hitters has additionally brought his career Travis Raciti Jersey numbers against these to a suitable level. From the 48 left-handed hitters with at least 500 plate appearances against lefties since the beginning of 2011, Duda ranks in the actual middle, because the table below illustrates. RankNamePABB%K%OBPSLGwRC+18Bryce Harper51511.324.10.3300.39610219Brett Gardner5699.321.30.3380.38110020Brian McCann6244.318.10.2930.43610021Jon Jay5097.516.50.3440.3589922Jay Bruce7807.328.70.2870.4449723Ichiro Suzuki7084.18.80.3270.3739524Lucas Duda5008.830.60.3150.3609425Ben Revere6483.19.90.3340.3609326Nick Markakis8457.213.80.3370.3499127Chase Utley6939.714.30.3150.3629028Kyle Seager8065.519.10.2890.3818929Eric Hosmer8306.017.30.3120.3698830Carlos Gonzalez6635.923.80.3110.43386His strikeout rate over 30% is still unsightly, but Dudas numbers are actually better than many of his peers against left-handed pitching. Over the past few seasons, the best collective seasonal mark for lefty-against-lefty matchups among non-pitchers has been the 90 wRC+ figure from Nate Ebner Jersey 2010. Last season the wRC+ was 85; in 2013 it had been 81; and its 90 in early part of this season. He hasnt made changes to his swing to better adjust to lefties, and the swing looks like the one Eno Sarris profiled at the beginning of 2013. Here you go on a walk-off homer last September. He pulled that one on the right-field line, but in his two home runs yesterday, he used more of the middle of the field. Heres the first one against Jaime Garcia. Heres the second, against Randy Choate, who had given up just two home runs to left-handed hitters forever of 2012 before yesterday, and it has held lefties to some .187/.269/.268 line during the period of his career. Both of yesterdays home runs went for the middle part of the ballpark, which could be random, although it is po sible Duda is different his approach slightly this year. In December, Duda mentioned perhaps being a little pull-happy against left-handers, and Keith Hernandez was getting some credit yesterday after working a while with Duda in Spring Training. The numbers so far this year do lend some credibility to Dudas pull-heavy theory, but we've very few plate appearances to take. From 2011 to 2014 against left-handers, he pulled the ball 44% of times. In a small number of plate appearances this year, he is pulling the ball 32% of the time, with many of the lost pulled balls heading toward the center of the field. Duda retained confidence in the capability to hit lefties, and a inadequate 2014 against lefties was in stark contrast to his performance against righties, but early succe s this year isn't due to a simple flip of a switch. Duda has had limited plate appearances in the career against lefties also it can take awhile for players to sit in the problem of hitting without the platoon advantage against the best pitchers in the world. Joey Votto found the majors prepared to hit lefties, however it took awhile for Curtis Granderson and David Ortiz. Fifty plate appearances with great results is not an indication that Duda is on his method to invincibility, but his career numbers do indicate Carlos Hyde Jersey that he might be competent against left-handed pitchers. This season will not be enough to make a determination on Dudas capability to hit his way out of the platoon. He will need a number of years before we can make sure, but the Mets certainly looks smart in giving Duda the chance to be a day to day player. Fifty plate appearances don't mean much over the course of work, but for Duda, changing perceptions during these 50 plate appearances after his 2014 season, even though its not sustainable, could mean the difference in Dudas role for the rest of his career.
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