A Small Adjustment Is Paying Off For Lucas Duda

In a fascinating piece in the New York Times, James Wagner writes that Mets hitting coach Kevin Long may have found the solution to Lucas Duda‘s occasional offensive troubles.

Long was recently looking at tape of Mike Trout‘s swing when the Angels visited Citi Field for a series a few weeks ago. He began comparing Mike Trout’s swing to Duda’s. He found that Trout often appeared like he was going to be late to the ball, but because of quick bat speed and efficient bat path through the strike zone, remained wildly successful. Duda, on the other hand, was very early on pitches, which often was his undoing and produced weak contact.

Long’s prescription was simple: wait a split second longer before swinging.

The results over the past few weeks have been fantastic. Since the end of that series with the Angels, Duda has been on fire, slashing .350/.400/.750 with six home runs and six doubles in 65 plate appearances.

Duda’s mixture of fly balls, ground balls, and line drives hasn’t changed all that much over this span but his hard hit ball percentage has shot up.

Also of note are his declining swinging strike and soft contact rates. Both of these are great signs, as missing and making soft contact on hittable pitches has hurt Duda for years.

Perhaps this is just another Duda hotstreak that the coaching staff is trying to take credit for, but the simple adjustment seems to be working very well. The team will need Duda to continue to hit like this to have any chance of clawing back into contention. In a contract year, every week like this for Duda also means perhaps millions of dollars down the line.

About Connor O'Brien 337 Articles
Connor O'Brien is a fourth-year economics student at Rutgers University, a longtime writer here at MetsMerized Online, and an aspiring economist. He embraces sabermetrics but also highly values scouting. Follow him on Twitter at cojobrien.