Lucas Duda: Top 5 power hitter?
The Mets have struggled in 2014, enduring another losing season, but the future is bright with a young rotation headed by Matt Harvey, and a lineup with a couple solid fantasy options. One of the hitting options is first baseman Lucas Duda, who is enjoying a breakout season in 2014, and yesterday he showed off why. On Sunday, Duda had a big game at the plate, going 3-5 with home runs, 2 runs scored and 5 RBI in the Mets 11-3 win over the Dodgers.
On the season, Duda is hitting .260-.355-.507 with 26 home runs, 61 runs scored and 76 RBI in 123 games played. He is on pace for 32 home runs and 94 RBI, both career highs. He currently ranks third in the National League in home runs and sixth in RBI, behind only Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo. Duda's breakout coincides with David Wright's decline at the plate, and his production is what we expected from David Wright this season, albeit with a higher batting average.
Duda's batted ball profile has barely changed since 2013, but he has reduced his strikeout rate, is walking less, but is making more contact despite expanding his strike zone a bit this season. I own Duda in an NL only keeper league, but am wondering if he can build upon this breakout or if he will regress a bit, and make less contact, in 2015. In an era where power is becoming a commodity, Duda will have plenty of value in 2015 drafts.
For more on Duda, make sure you check out Amazin Avenue, SB Nation's Met's fan site.
Who would you rather have in 2015?
I was looking at some player stats on FanGraphs last week, and saw a comparison I wanted to write about here. If you had to draft right now, for 2015, who would you rather have: player A or player B?
A: .308-.375-.501, 17 HRs, 81 runs, 89 RBI
B: .328-.396-.553, 25 HRs, 66 runs, 94 RBI
The decision would be pretty easy based on the stats presented above, right? Player B is having the better 2014 season, while player A is having what I consider a down season for him.
Player A is Miguel Cabrera, and player B is teammate Victor Martinez. VMart is having an excellent 2014 season at the plate, and on Sunday he went 3-6 with a home run and 4 RBI in the Tigers 13-4 win over the Twins. He currently ranks in the top 7 in five hitting categories this season: HR, RBI, BA, SLG and OPS, ranking second in BA and OPS after Sunday's performance.
Miggy will be a first round pick in 2015, but I wonder if the injuries will begin to catch up to him at some point.
For more on Martinez and the Tigers, make sure you check out Bless You Boys, SB Nation's Tigers fan site.
The Pirates demoted outfield prospect Gregory Polanco late last night, but there is a good chance he will be called up when rosters expand on September 1st. Polanco has struggled at the plate since June, hitting just .219 after hitting .288 in June. Many prospects go through these extended slumps/growing pains, so this doesn't impact his long term value.
Like Polanco, Indians young starter Trevor Bauer has had his share of struggles this season, but he looked great on Sunday, shutting out the Astros on 4 hits, 3 walks while striking out 9 in 6 innings in the Indians 3-1 win. Bauer is now 5-7 with a 4.18 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.39 WHIP and a 114-46 strikeout to walk rate in 118.1 innings. His batting average allowed has steadily fallen over the last few months, so if he can improve the walk rate, he could take the next step in 2015.
The Giants are considering moving catcher Buster Posey to first base in the future, but nothing is definite at this point. The way I see it, the Giants have to move him there if they want to keep him healthy and his productive bat in the lineup. All you have to do is compare his triple slash lines at catcher and first base this season:
C - .269-.326-.436 in 380 plate appearances
1B - .378-.427-.512 in 89 plate appearances.
For his career, the splits are more pronounced:
C - .293-.361-.466 in 1,871 plate appearances
1B - .362-.421-.561 in 401 plate appearances
A move to first base would appear to be a positive for fantasy purposes, but if his value will remain high as long as he still has catcher eligibility.
Rays young starter Chris Archer has quietly put up a pretty good season on the mound for fantasy owners this season. On Sunday, Archer was impressive in limiting the Blue Jays to one run on 6 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Rays 2-1 win. Archer did not earn the decision, but is now 8-6 with a solid 3.09 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.28 WHIP and a 147-60 strikeout to walk rate in 157.1 innings. Like many young starters, if he can limit the free pass, he could move into the top 30 starting pitcher discussion in 2015.
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