Is Lucas Duda The Future At First Base?

An article by posted on August 28, 2014 0 Comments

lucas duda

A simple search of my Twitter feed, or my comment history on this site will reveal a strong dislike for Lucas Duda (as a baseball player, I don’t know the man).

This spring when the Mets were auditioning both Duda and the since traded Ike Davis for the everyday first base spot, I strongly backed Ike Davis. In my opinion, I had seen flashes of brilliance from Ike that I hadn’t seen in Duda. Davis hit 32 homers in 2012. He’d shown a disciplined approach, posting walk rates over 10.0% from 2010-2012. He’d hit .302 in an injury shortened 2011. Ike Davis looked like a guy who was waiting to put it all together. Duda looked like a spare part.

I was dead wrong, and I’m here to admit that.

Lucas Duda has turned himself into more than just an average first basemen, while Ike Davis has continued to struggle — recently losing his job in Pittsburgh’s first base platoon.

Yesterday, Mike Petriello of FanGraphs published an article entitled “Is Lucas Duda a Star Now?”, and it really caught me off-guard. I knew Lucas was having a good season, but I hadn’t really put it in perspective by considering his standing amongst his peers. Petriello broke down some of Duda’s stats, and I highly recommend reading the article, as well as everything they do on FanGraphs.

Here’s some numbers in Duda’s stat-line that really jumped out at me.

(All statistics are accurate as of 8/26)

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Despite being more than a full run lower than stars like Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman, Duda ranks an impressive fourth in WAR amongst National League first basemen.

While we all know that Lucas currently sits in third place in the NL in home runs, there’s another metric which really highlights just how much of a power boost he’s provided for this light-hitting Mets team. Check out the NL leaders in ISO:

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This is quite a surprise. Essentially what ISO means is how many extra base hits a player averages per at-bat. As you can see, Lucas trails just the NL home run leader Giancarlo Stanton in this category.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at how Duda stacks up against other first basemen in wOBA, or Weighted On-Base Percentage. wOBA is one of my favorite metrics. While batting average is certainly useful, its flaw is that it weighs all hits equally. Slugging percentage, while weighing hits differently, has proven to be inaccurate over time while leaving certain components out all together. wOBA weighs all hits and ways of reaching base differently in correlation to their actual run value.

Once again Lucas places in the upper echelon.

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So does, that answer the question? Is Lucas the future at first base for this team? In short, I don’t know. While he’s shown improvements in nearly all facets of his game, there’s no telling what next season will bring. What I do know is that Lucas is having a tremendous season and has a lot of us eating crow– but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t taste pretty good.

What do our knowledgeable readers think?

About the Author ()

Kirk Cahill is a native New Yorker and lifelong Mets fan. He's recently taken to blogging and enjoys following prospects and frequenting minor league games. You can follow him on Twitter @KirkC_.