There are a couple of fantasy baseball deep sleepers each year that can make the difference for your team. The following 2012 profile of Lucas Duda will analyze the chances that he might be one of the next big sleepers. He was selected based on my simple selection process which is detailed in this introductory post.
ADP as of this posting: 227.28 (Round 19/20 in 12-team league)
Projected 2012 Role: Starting OF
2011 Production: .292 AVG, 10 HR, 38 R, 50 RBI, 1 SB in 347 PA
My 2012 Prediction: .285 AVG, 30 HR, 85 R, 95 RBI, 0 SB if he starts
Lucas Duda had previously shown quite a bit of power before his two trips up to the majors over 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he hit 23 HR over 115 minor league games before only adding 4 more in 29 MLB games. In 2011, he hit a whopping 10 HR in 38 minor league games but only added 10 more over 100 MLB games. Playing in Citi Field certainly did not help his case as only two of his HR’s came at home. However, that home field lull should likely come to an end in 2012.
The Mets are moving the fences in at Citi Field which should give a slight boost to his power numbers at home. As a left-handed hitter, the new dimensions should provide a boost for him with one of the right field fences moving in by 17 feet. A study by the Mets indicated that the changes should provide an extra homer every three games for the Mets there. Duda is likely to be the beneficiary of some of those extra home runs.
He’s very much a fly ball power hitter but suffered from a pedestrian HR/FB rate last year (9.3%) despite his 44% FB rate. If he can bring his HR/FB rate up to 13% (his 2010 numbers) then he would project to hit almost 29 HR over 600 AB by keeping the same FB rate. Aside from hitting for power, he has the added benefit of not hurting you in the batting average department as he hit .284 in his minor league career (he got better as he went along which is evidenced by his AVG of .292 over 2009 and 2010).
As I write this, I get flashbacks to Michael Morse from last year who I also projected for similar numbers and he went on to hit 31 HR with a gaudy batting average. Duda also has the potential to deliver power, batting average and good RBI numbers in 2012. Finding someone who can contribute in those three areas late in the draft is a rarity.
Sleeper Verdict: Certified narco candidate. He’s very undervalued as he’s being drafted towards the end of drafts and has potential to deliver a ton of unexpected value. Make sure to get Duda on your team as a backup outfielder with the chance to deliver a lot more.