clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Lucas Duda improving against left-handed pitchers?

Has Duda changed his approach against lefties? A small sample size suggests "maybe."

H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

WARNING: Small sample size analysis lies ahead. Proceed with caution.

In his career, Lucas Duda has not fared well against left-handed pitchers, hitting just .216./.294/.319 with a 77 wRC+. He has had some success when seeing fastballs from left-handed pitchers, but his performance against off-speed and breaking pitches from left-handers has been abysmal:

Pitch Type

% of Pitches Seen











Off-speed / Breaking






As you can see above, Duda has struggled just to put the ball in play against off-speed and breaking pitches from left-handed pitchers. When it comes to these pitches, left-handers attack Duda low and away almost exclusively, and he has trouble laying off those pitches out of the strike zone:

When it comes to fastballs, though, left-handers have a slight tendency to come up in the zone and back towards the middle of the plate:


Despite his career-long struggles, Duda has found early success against left-handers in 2015. Entering Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Duda had three hits and a walk in eight plate appearances. Are left-handers approaching Duda differently this season? He is actually seeing off-speed and breaking pitches with increased frequency (53%).

On Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, however, starter Alex Wood threw him three consecutive fastballs, all two-seamers, and Duda lashed a single to center. Based on this at-bat, it could be easy deduce that nothing has changed, and Duda simply took advantage of lefty without enough sense to throw an off-speed or breaking pitch.

That was not the case, though, as you will see below. In Duda's third at-bat, Wood attempted to get Duda to chase a curveball, but he was patient and did not bite. On the next pitch, Wood caught too much of the plate with another two-seam fastball, and Duda took it back up the middle for a base hit.

In Duda's fifth and final at-bat, left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan tried a similar approach. He started with a slider out of the strike zone, but again, Duda did not offer. On the next pitch, McKirahan threw a four-seam fastball up and out over the plate, and Duda smacked his third base hit of the day off a left-handed pitcher.


The sample size is certainly too small to state definitively that Duda has improved his approach to off-speed and breaking pitches from left-handed pitchers. However, to this point in 2015, Duda has demonstrated increased patience and a tendency to lay off these pitches away and wait for fastballs to come back over the plate. Any consistent improvement in this area could push Duda from a good (or very good) player to a great one.