Duda Feeling More Comfortable

After putting together a strong season at the plate during his rookie season in Brooklyn, Lucas Duda hopes to achieve similar success against much stiffer competition in St. Lucie. The 22-year-old first baseman possesses a dedicated work ethic, but now faces the task of building on his solid approach and improving as a consistent hitter.

Lucas Duda entered the 2008 season with many goals focused on improving his swing. After hitting .299 with four home runs and 32 RBI with Brooklyn last season, the 6-foot-4 first baseman made the jump to the Florida State League where he would be relied upon as a producer in the middle of the order.

Duda has been that guy in St. Lucie's struggling lineup. Though his average dipped under .300 [.296 through 38 games] because of a recent 8-for-40 slump, Duda hit .330 in April with 19 RBI, leading his team in nearly every major offensive category. In a lineup filled with position players that had yet to see extensive time in High-A ball, he knows just how important his strong start was despite the team's disappointing place in the standings.

"Though the team is struggling, I know that being in the middle of the order it's on me to make some things happen. I've got to not worry about numbers, go out there and deliver when my team needs me to," he said.

Heading into the season, Duda worked to ensure a strong start to the year after adding a .340 average in 15 Hawaiian Winter League games following his Brooklyn performance. To do that he worked with his coaches on building an plan to take on the higher level pitching which included strengthening his opposite field approach.

"It's been going great so far and I've been seeing the ball well," he said. "It's an uphill battle coming to this league after Brooklyn, but I feel confident and pleased with the way I've been swinging the bat. The pitching can be tough, but I think I've been steady in my approach and it goes from there."

"I'm always trying to work the other way whether it's in the game, in batting practice or in the cage—it's a real effort. It's really helped my timing, staying back and staying in the strike zone longer. These pitchers aren't going to give me such an easy time out there so I need to be able to go the other way when I have to," he explained.

What it means for Duda, who so far has shown a high amount of patience and a knack for earning a high amount of walks, is aggressiveness that he otherwise may not be used to.

"The pitchers here definitely have a little more experience then me, so that's challenging, and they're going to stay aggressive even when they're behind in the count. I'm not going to be able to wait and pick my pitch as often as I did in Brooklyn, and I've got to adjust more during the at-bat," he detailed.

"I'm trying not to change my approach too much because I think a lot of the good things I'm doing are a continuation of what I did in the Instructional League and then in winter ball," said Duda.

Coming off a very successful first month of the season, Duda will not let adversity divert the progress he has made. Even though the team has yet to find a rhythm, he remains hungry to keep improving each day out.

"I've been all about working hard," he said. "It's been a tough transition at times but I'm feeling more and more comfortable each time I'm out there. I'm doing what it takes and that means putting in all the work with the coaches in practice, before games whenever. I know I've still got a ways to go, but I'm seeing a lot of good come from [my work]."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nLucas Duda entered the 2008 season with many goals focused on improving his swing. After hitting .299 with four home runs and 32 RBI with Brooklyn last season, the 6-foot-4 first baseman made the jump to the Florida State League where he would be relied upon as a producer in the middle of the order.
\r\n
\r\nDuda has been that guy in St. Lucie's struggling lineup. Though his average dipped under .300 [.296 through 38 games] because of a recent 8-for-40 slump, Duda hit .330 in April with 19 RBI, leading his team in nearly every major offensive category. In a lineup filled with position players that had yet to see extensive time in High-A ball, he knows just how important his strong start was despite the team's disappointing place in the standings.
\r\n
\r\n\"Though the team is struggling, I know that being in the middle of the order it's on me to make some things happen. I've got to not worry about numbers, go out there and deliver when my team needs me to,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nHeading into the season, Duda worked to ensure a strong start to the year after adding a .340 average in 15 Hawaiian Winter League games following his Brooklyn performance. To do that he worked with his coaches on building an plan to take on the higher level pitching which included strengthening his opposite field approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been going great so far and I've been seeing the ball well,\" he said. \"It's an uphill battle coming to this league after Brooklyn, but I feel confident and pleased with the way I've been swinging the bat. The pitching can be tough, but I think I've been steady in my approach and it goes from there.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always trying to work the other way whether it's in the game, in batting practice or in the cage—it's a real effort. It's really helped my timing, staying back and staying in the strike zone longer. These pitchers aren't going to give me such an easy time out there so I need to be able to go the other way when I have to,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nWhat it means for Duda, who so far has shown a high amount of patience and a knack for earning a high amount of walks, is aggressiveness that he otherwise may not be used to.
\r\n
\r\n\"The pitchers here definitely have a little more experience then me, so that's challenging, and they're going to stay aggressive even when they're behind in the count. I'm not going to be able to wait and pick my pitch as often as I did in Brooklyn, and I've got to adjust more during the at-bat,\" he detailed.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm trying not to change my approach too much because I think a lot of the good things I'm doing are a continuation of what I did in the Instructional League and then in winter ball,\" said Duda.
\r\n
\r\nComing off a very successful first month of the season, Duda will not let adversity divert the progress he has made. Even though the team has yet to find a rhythm, he remains hungry to keep improving each day out.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been all about working hard,\" he said. \"It's been a tough transition at times but I'm feeling more and more comfortable each time I'm out there. I'm doing what it takes and that means putting in all the work with the coaches in practice, before games whenever. I know I've still got a ways to go, but I'm seeing a lot of good come from [my work].\"
\r\n
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