It is safe to assume that the sabermetrics crowd is drooling over Lucas Duda right about now. After all, going into Tuesday’s games he is second in the National League in walks with 20, fifth in on-base percentage at .429 and his .950 OPS is tenth in the league. These are the stats that are just so important to them. However, there is one stat that the sabermetrics people say is unimportant that proves Duda is not getting the job done.
The advanced stats adorers say RBIs are meaningless in judging a player because a hitter is dependent on others in the lineup to get on base in order to get an RBI. They do have a point, but you win games by scoring runs, and someone has to drive those runs in, which is why I think RBIs are very important.
Lucas Duda has just eight of them.
Duda is supposed to be a big bopper in this lineup, the guy who is supposed to hit the ball a long way in order to drive in runs. Instead, he is hitting just .143 with runners in scoring position. Seven of his walks have come with runners in scoring position, so instead of trying to drive them home, Duda is content to take a walk in those crucial situations.
Let’s take moment to look at David Wright. He is third in walks with 19, fourth in on-base percentage at .431 and 12th in OPS at .931. But he has 19 RBIs, tied for seventh in the league and is hitting a robust .462 with runners in scoring position. He also has five walks in those situations, but that is likely because teams are pitching around him. Why wouldn’t they with Duda or Ike Davis behind him?
Unlike Duda, Wright is not content with taking a walk. He is aggressive and wants to get the runners home. In contrast, Duda’s passive approach results in him trotting down to first while runners wait at second and third, hoping the likes of Marlon Byrd or Collin Cowgill can somehow drive them in.
Outside of the sabermetricians, is there anyone who thinks Lucas Duda is actually helping the team right now? Sure, it’s nice to have a high on-base percentage, especially in a lineup where there are plenty of guys who can drive you in. However, when you are one of the guys who is supposed to be doing the driving, RBIs must take precedent over walks.
If Lucas Duda continues with his current approach, he will never be a successful major leaguer. Frankly, even if he changes his approach, I have doubts that he and his fragile psyche can make it big in the big leagues.