After a very good April in which Lucas Duda hit an excellent .264/.436/.542 with 5 home runs, Mets fans had some reason for optimism with their left fielder. The defense wasn’t very good (and isn’t likely to get much better), but the Dude’s bat was providing more than enough to offset that and provide positive value in the officially-worst-unit-in-the-history-of-anything-ever-according-to-ESPN.
Then May came and Duda went frigid. He tallied only 4 hits in the first twelve games (ten starts). Sure, three of them were home runs, but when you’re hitting .100 and striking out 25.6% of the time that’s not going to get it done. An interesting development started when Pittsburgh came to Queens, however, that suggested optimism: he started hitting the ball. He was making solid contact, but the ball kept finding gloves. In the seven games Lucas played against Pittsburgh and in St. Louis, he only struck out twice in 26 plate appearances. He put 19 balls into play (the home run he hit notwithstanding; home runs don’t count toward “BaBIP”). His BaBIP was .050. 20 balls, one double, one sac fly.
His luck started to turn, though. The last game in St. Louis started what is now a ten-game hitting streak. Over that span, he’s hit .351/.390/.541 with three doubles and a home run. His average shot up 37 points to a decent .242, and is now once again on pace to exceed 30 home runs.
Duda’s OPS currently sits at .843. Depending on how long the hot streak continues, it should continue to rise. If Duda finishes the season with an OPS in the .850 range, he could be a solid contributor in the medium-to-long term. Duda’s expected to achieve “Super Two” status this season and be arbitration eligible, but even at a likely cost of $2.5M he should provide some value and allow Sandy Alderson to focus on fixing only two outfield spots instead of all three.
Let’s hope the Dude continues to abide, because his bat can really tie the room together.