What is happening with Lucas Duda’s production?

What is happening with Lucas Duda’s production?

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda’s season has been enigmatic.

An electric start appeared to prove his breakout 2014 was no fluke, but with Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright both on the disabled list, his production quickly fell.

So what should one make of Duda’s season and recent power surge?

Duda has produced a .771 on-base plus slugging (OPS) in 2015, more similar to his 2013 season (.767 OPS) than his breakout 2014 (.830 OPS). Duda’s two-run home run on Tuesday was his 15th of the season and third in nine games, over which he has produced an .814 OPS. His increased power has come at the cost of decreased on-base percentage, as he has only reached base 30 percent of the time over the same sample. However, he is still making hard contact, and his .211 batting average on balls in-play (compared to a .292 season rate) suggests more success might be on the horizon.

The league adjusted to Duda this season, and it appears he may have begun to make adjustments to maintain consistent success. Duda’s peripherals are equally as impressive as his 2014 season, as the first baseman has roughly the same hard-hit percentage in 2015 (39.5 percent) as 2014 (41.3 percent). He is hitting more line drives this season (25 percent) than he did in 2014 (20.4 percent), but since Duda only hits the ball to the opposite field in 25 percent of his at-bats, teams are able to shift with a fair amount of success.

A productive Duda is a transformative bat for a Mets lineup looking to add another proven hitter before the July 31 trade deadline. Do you believe Duda’s recent power surge is legitimate?

Photo credit: Michael G. Baron