Duda, Evans, Hairston: NL ‘Outfielders’

With the unfortunate knee injury to Daniel Murphy, starting roles are in flux in New York. Ike Davis has also admitted recently that he’ll out of commission all year most likely. There’s playing time to be had.

Lucas Duda (3% owned in Yahoo)
We last profiled el Duderino at the end of June, so it’s time for an update. There are still plenty of reasons to be excited about Duda, even if his overall .262/.329/.436 line is underwhelming for a corner outfielder slash first baseman. First, there’s obviously power upside remaining. Duda ISO’ed .295 at Triple-A in 2010 and 2011 (455 PAs combined), and managed a .214 ISO in his debut (92 PAs). He hits more fly balls than ground balls, and he looks like an ox. For some reason, he’s only managing a 5.9% HR/FB number right now, but that’s not statistically reliable yet. Power is tied into his batting average, and if he can inch that power forward, he could beat his ZiPs RoS projections (.246/.324/.421) because the rest of the batting average package (other than speed) is there. He doesn’t strike out much (7.5% swinging strike rate is below average, and so is his 14.1% strikeout percentage). He’s hitting gobs of line drives (23.3%, average is 19%). He’s not an extreme fly ball hitter (0.94 GB/FB). Throw those batted ball numbers into an xBABIP calculator, and you get .328 (not his current .286). So it’s on the power: if he shows a little more of it, he could be a .275/.340/.480 guy for the next two months, which does work in most leagues.

Scott Hairston (0% owned in Yahoo)
Though he does represent an upgrade over Met bench pieces of the past, Hairston is most likely only a bench part. As much as we try to avoid using platoon splits too often here, the Chin owns a sizeable split that has affected his usage. In over 700 PAs against left-handers, Hairston is a useful .278/.331/.492 player. Against over 1200 PAs against same-handed players? The 31-year-old is batting .228/.289/.411. He still shows power, which is the best part of his game, but there seems to be something going on there. If you can put him on your deep league bench and slot him in against southpaws, you’ll come out ahead.

Nick Evans (0% owned)
If Lucas Duda is really the starting first baseman, and Scott Hairston is best used against right-handers, perhaps the 25-year-old Evans will draw the starts against right-handers. Unfortunately the player nicknamed ‘Who’ by Met faithful is also right-handed and hasn’t distinguished himself as a bona fide major league regular so far. Well, it would be unfair to judge him on his 266 major league PAs. But his minor league PAs haven’t been so amazing for a player older than his competition performing near his peak. His walk rates have been at average or worse, his strikeout rates around average, and last year he had a .149 ISO in Triple-A. It’s true that he’s had better years in the past, and it’s possible he could be useful in the deepest of leagues. But Evans didn’t once have a year as nice as Duda’s last two years in the same parks.

We hoped you liked reading Duda, Evans, Hairston: NL ‘Outfielders’ by Eno Sarris!

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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Steve Balboni
Steve Balboni

Why did you use quotation marks around the word “Outfielder”? Is that a knock on Hairston, Duda and Evan’s defense?