Lucas Duda is playing shallow, getting comfortable in RF

In the New York Post, Mike Puma explains how Lucas Duda is getting more comfortable playing right field, thanks in part to outfield coach Tom Goodwin.

Goodwin has Duda playing more shallow, contrary to what he was used to, so less balls drop in front of him.

“I was taught when I was growing up, never get beat over your head,” Duda told Puma. “Playing [shallow], that’s kind of a switch, but it’s an adjustment, and I have to make it sooner rather than later.”

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Brian Erni: It’s an interesting approach. I’m sure Duda’s specific positioning fluctuates based on scouting reports and spray charts, but I think, based on the Duda’s skill set, setting up shallow makes sense. Duda is neutralizing the lack of closing speed he has coming in, cutting down the amount of singles that bloop in. As a result, he’s taking away that hard-luck inning, where pitchers are making good pitches, but having parachutes fall in. Such a frame can be demoralizing for pitchers, especially for young ones. Duda lacks a tradition right fielder’s arm as well, so the shallower he plays, the better chance he is giving himself to cut a runner down with a strong throw to third or home.

Since the adjustments to Citi have taken away that long triple-creating gap, when a ball is tanked, it’s usually going to be a home run or double. And with Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Andres Torres patrolling centerfield, there’s a good chance they can run something down should it be hit in right centerfield gap. Having Duda play shallow is a numbers game: take away the hits that shouldn’t fall in, but give up the one or two balls in the gap that would probably require an extraordinary play anyway.

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To read more from Duda, as well as quotes from Goodwin, check out Puma’s report on Duda’s defense for the New York Post.