Player Background

A seventh-round pick by the New York Mets in 2007, Duda hit .299/.398/.462 with 20 doubles in 67 games in the New York Penn League. Over the next two minor-league seasons, Duda hit just 20 home runs in 243 games before finding his power stroke in 2010. As a 24-year-old at Double-A, he hit .286/.411/.503 with six home runs in 45 games with Binghamton before he was called up to Triple-A. With Buffalo, he hit .314/.386/.610 with 17 home runs in 70 games and earned himself a September call-up to the majors, where he popped another four home runs despite a .202 AVG in 29 games with the Mets.

Duda went north with the Mets out of spring training in 2011, but was sent to Triple-A before the end of April. He was on a mission in Buffalo, hitting .302/.414/.597 with 10 home runs in 38 games. Duda didn’t let up once he returned to the majors, as upon rejoining the Mets in June, he posted a .292 AVG in 100 games, which is his best in any single season. A key part of Duda’s 2011 was his lack of strikeouts, but his 16 percent strikeout percentage would prove to be an outlier as it rose to 26 percent for the next two seasons and he struggled badly to hit for average over that time hitting .239 and .223, respectively. He hadn’t had a major power breakout yet either as his career high in home runs was just 15, though his .192 ISO in 2013 was a career high.

Then he pulled us back in with his 2014, where he lowered his strikeout percentage to 22 percent, posted a .253 AVG and played a career-high 153 games on his way to his first 30-home-run season and establishing himself as one of the best 15 first basemen in baseball.

What’s Happened So Far

In 2015, Duda has picked up right where he left off as despite seeing his average dip in the middle of the year he’s caught fire in August and now a lot of his numbers are very similar to his ’14 season. He might even be getting better at the plate this year as his line drive percentage is up to a career high 23 percent. Duda’s also hitting the ball the other way more than he has at any other point in his career as his opposite field percentage is a career high 25 percent.


































Duda’s strikeout rate is back to 26 percent, where he’s been three of the past four years now, but his OPS entering play Monday was just five points off of his mark from last year as he continues to show that his breakout wasn’t a fluke. The most striking difference I can find between his numbers these past two years is the fact that he’s had a pronounced home-and-road split this season while he didn’t last year. This year, he’s hitting .296 with 18 home runs at Citi Field compared to just .197 with three home runs on the road.

What to Expect the Rest of 2015

Well, if the most recent past is any indication, there will be bombs from Duda the rest of the way. Over his last 22 games (20 starts), he’s hitting .268/.351/.659 with nine home runs and 17 RBI. What makes Duda perhaps a little more difficult to project in a small sample size is that he tends to be a streaky hitter. In the 37 games before his recent hot stretch, he managed to hit just .159. These peaks and valleys tend to even out over the course of a full season, but with less than two months left in the regular season time is becoming a factor. Of course, Duda is hot right now, but there’s always the possibility that he could go in the tank for an extended period, though you can’t really worry about that. Life goes on, man.















Looking at Duda’s rest-of-season PECOTA projection above, it’s at least interesting that the system isn’t ready to project a higher TAv just yet. Last year, his TAv was .312 and it is .314 so far this year. His career TAv is .297 and while Duda is a bit of a streaky hitter, it’s fair to project him for a higher TAv the rest of the way. He’s streaky, but he’s also clearly in the middle of the best stretch of baseball he’s played in his career and that shouldn’t exactly be taken lightly.

The Great Beyond

Despite his age—because Duda was a bit of a late-bloomer and will turn 30 before next season—he’s currently in his first season of arbitration and won’t be a free agent until the 2018 campaign. This is good news for the Mets payroll, though Duda should be in line for another raise in arbitration after this season. Duda’s free agency being years away is also good news for fantasy owners who have him in keeper or dynasty formats and would be especially so if he continues to do most of his damage at Citi Field as he has this season.

Just a short time ago, before the 2014 season, people thought Duda was all that he was going to be at that point, a .230 slugger who almost inexplicably struggles with the low and inside pitch. Well, much like the Dude in The Big Lebowski, our hero is an underdog and a man of leisure (Duda is going to beat anyone in a footrace anytime soon). In the last year-and-a-half, Duda has established himself—and, well, he’s the man for his time and place. And that’s the Duda, in New York.

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