Roster Advice -- El Duda-rino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing

Andy Lyons

Lucas Duda is criminally underrated, despite being as productive as a lot of much higher-owned outfielders. Fix it.

If you'll allow me to be a hack for just a moment...

Blind resumes! The following table is, in order, the Yahoo ownership percentages, adjusted-OPS's, and home run totals for a handful of outfielders, as of Thursday afternoon, (And yes, I know my headline and photo have given away my whole plan here. I didn't think of it until after I decided to do blind resumes. I'm failing here. Pull up, pull up!):

Ownership % OPS+ HR
82 111 6
80 97 6
79 110 2
79 110 4
73 99 3
71 122 11
70 120 9
65 80 7
62 106 10
57 107 4
53 95 5
51 124 4
32 119 5
30 109 7
28 98 3
9 130 9

It's never exactly fair to do it this way, because there are always more factors that enter into the equation. But whatever, life ain't fair. I'm in charge here.

I'm sure you figured out pretty easily that I'm here to talk about the lonely little guy there at the end, with his 130 OPS+, his nine homers, and his measly little ownership percentage of 9. There are a few reasons he's low-owned. A lot of his value lies in his walks, which doesn't do much unless you're in an OBP league. He's an awful fielder, to the point that he has been replaced 17 times already. And he's on a terrible team, which means his success happens in something of a vacuum and is easily ignored.

That said, Lucas Duda is only 9% owned? Really?

Here's that table again, with the player names listed:

Ownership % OPS+ HR
Nick Markakis 82 111 6
Todd Frazier 80 97 6
Torii Hunter 79 110 2
Norichika Aoki 79 110 4
Angel Pagan 73 99 3
Mike Morse 71 122 11
Josh Willingham 70 120 9
Alejandro de Aza 65 80 7
Vernon Wells 62 106 10
Andre Ethier 57 107 4
Alfonso Soriano 53 95 5
Gerardo Parra 51 124 4
Garrett Jones 32 119 5
Brandon Moss 30 109 7
Jason Kubel 28 98 3
Lucas Duda 9 130 9

I'm not necessarily claiming Duda is better than those guys. But if Markakis is worthy of 82% ownership, if Soriano is worthy of 53, why the heck is Duda is floating so low?

Now, like I said above, Duda is a bad fielder. Late in games, he gets swapped out for Jordany Valdespin or Rick Ankiel or Marlon Byrd or Mike Baxter. His glove is only for decoration. And that hurts his value, as the switches cost him plate appearances. But the Mets have, as you might have heard, a first baseman that can't hit a beach ball this year. And if they end up having to send Ike Davis down to try to fix himself, Duda and Justin Turner will pick up the time, which means that knock against Duda partly goes away.

My immediate response after noting Duda's success was that it had to be a mirage. It's BABIP-infused or something. He's a fine hitter, sure. He's not a superstar. Here's the thing, though: Duda's career BABIP is .300. This year, it's .283. It's hard to find a reason to believe this is only luck. His walk rate is at an all-time high, too, which, yes, only has fantasy value in an OBP league, but still indicates that Duda, in his age-27 season, really might be what his stats say he is. (Related - why are you still playing in BA leagues? Stop it. OBP leagues are better.)

The point isn't that Lucas Duda is now a superstar. The point is that Lucas Duda is 9% owned, while Torii Hunter is 79. While Alfonso Soriano is 53. I can't really find a lot that sets those guys that far above Duda. He's being treated at least one tier, and maybe two, below where he belongs. I own Duda in a league where some of those guys are available, and I'm happy about it.

Follow me on Twitter @danieltkelley

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