As I said yesterday in my intro, I was inspired to do this because of what I saw after the Lucas Duda signing. First off let me say this…I don’t consider myself an expert. I know more about the game of baseball than 98.2% of the traditional bloggers out there, but I’m no expert. I have to look up stats just like everyone else when making my case for anything. One thing I do know is intangibles that players have. Things you can tell about a player just by watching them. I’ll touch on that later.
I’m not going to make this blog a Mean Girl’s style Burn Book. When we feel the need to call people out we will, but for the most part you know who inspires us. So I don’t think it needs to be said who Lucas’ biggest fans are. So basically all I saw the last two days was Duda OPS vs Eric Hosmer OPS when comparing the two. The same boners who love to pull out 17 different stats at times to make their case all of a sudden are sticking to the basics when defending their man. I wonder why. Well if you follow me on twitter you saw why. Considering I’m on my third twitter account in 3 months, chances are you didn’t see it though. That’s neither here nor there.
On the surface, both players are pretty comparable. Duda: .242/.340/.457 Hosmer .284/.342/.439. Very similar. It’s easy to see if you have certain biases or you really don’t know much about baseball, you’d think they’re of the same value. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We saw Duda for the better part of 8 years here. He was as consistently inconsistent as they come. A couple times he was able to put together 25+ HR seasons, giving him a solid Slugging %, We will ignore the fact that Most of the time his full seasons were two weeks of elite hitting sandwiched by 22 weeks of shit. But if you couple that slugging with a .340 OBP because he was such a passive wimp, he earned himself a respectable OPS (The most overrated stat in baseball)
While I was writing this, Lucas Duda took 3 first pitch fastballs right down the dick for strikes. And there is my issue with him. He was either a 4 or 5 hitter for more than half his games played. The point of the 3-4-5 hitters are to drive in the guys who get on base in front of you. With men on base, Duda batted .235 with an OBP of .356. What does that mean? It means he was less aggressive when the team needed him to not be. He walked more when he should have been driving the ball. Hosmer has spent the majority of his career as a 3 hitter. When men were on base, he batted .296 with a .356 OBP. His walk rate stayed the same, while he was actually a better hitter, doing what he was supposed to do, moving runners over and driving in the table setters. It’s baseball 101, folks.
Some more interesting tidbits for you. Duda in Late & Close Situations .198/.308/.338 Hosmer in the same situations .285/.359/.479. Tie Games: Duda .240/.342/.397 Hosmer .280/.336/.436. Playoff stats? I didn’t even want to look but had to do it. Duda in 14 games: .234/.302/.340. Hosmer in 31 games: .276/.333/.398. And magically through some divine intervention, whenever the Mets were up or down more than 4 runs, Duda became a fairly good hitter, posting a slash line of .263/.335/.556. If you don’t think clutch exists in sports, then you never stepped foot on a field after grammar school. Duda shit the bed time and time again when it mattered. But he walked a lot and hit home runs so he was “good”.
So go ahead, hold your heads up high and yell about how Duda has a higher career OPS than Eric Hosmer. The most stat driven people love to pick and choose when certain stats matter, and only citing the basics fits their needs in this situation. Oh and to touch on intangibles for a second. They matter. Body language matters, personality matters. Being a leader, as Hosmer was thought of in Kansas City, matters. Being able to do the little things to win baseball games matters. An example is when you know before the game that David Wright has a long throwing motion and Duda can’t throw well at all, and you’re prepared for it if you’re standing on 3rd base and a grounder is hit to Wright. Then that moment happens and you use that info and you make a play to help your team win a championship, that shit matters. Now you know why Hosmer got multiple $100 million offers and Duda is taking a pay cut.