In a report for the Star Ledger, Jorge Castillo says Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens is working closely with Lucas Duda on eliminating movement while in the batters box prior to the pitch being delivered.
“I’m just trying to get him to stay easy,” Hudgens explained to Castillo. “When he wants to juice the baseball, he’ll start getting more movement. He’s so big and strong, he doesn’t need all that. I’m trying to get him just to calm down; just not trying to do too much with the baseball. Swing almost at 60 percent instead of 100 percent.”
According to Castillo, Duda has had that movement in the box his entire life, but he is agreeable to doing what he needs to do to be better.
“I trust Hudge and I respect what he has to say and I’ll work hard to be where I need to be,” Duda told Castillo.
Michael Baron, Contributor
Duda’s not that young anymore by baseball terms, so it’s going to be difficult for Hudgens to get Duda to not only adapt, but get him to stay consistent with this approach. But I do believe Duda still has the tools to be a successful. He’s a big guy, and when he squares up on the ball, he makes loud contact. He struggled a lot on breaking balls last year and he took a lot of hittable pitches for strikes, which got him into a lot of unfavorable counts. If he can improve in those areas, his strikeouts should diminish and he should be more of a consistent offensive presence.
Duda routinely talks about his confidence, which means it’s an on-going issue for him. His defense will always be problematic, but perhaps playing consistently in left field this year – a position Terry Collins believes Duda should be more comfortable playing – will help gain Duda some confidence. A strong and consistent Spring should help him, but it would still need to carry over once the bell rings on April 1.
Statistics and information on Lucas Duda...
Stats: In 121 Major League games last season, Duda, 27, hit .239 with a .329 OBP, and .718 SLG, 15 home runs and 57 RBI in 459 plate appearances.
Contract: Duda will be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season, and can be a free agent after the 2017 season.