By now, Mets fans know that Lucas Duda has surgery on his right wrist which he broke while moving furniture after the team announced it. Damn, couches are dangerous.
This is not the first time Duda has had wrist problems. As a freshman at USC, he broke his left wrist on a collision at first base back in 2005. He went on to hit just .208/.322/.299 in 91 PA over 34 games that year as a 19-year old. His sophomore year, his batting average and his OBP rose, but his power did not as he hit .298/.391/.398 in 226 PA over 56 games. By his junior year, he hit for a little more power: .280/.378/.468 in 223 PA over 53 games.
Here’s his College Isolated slugging, calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging to measure a batter’s power, by year:
Fr. (’05) – .091
So. (’06) – .100
Jr. (’07) – .188
The next time he hit for an isolated slugging above .180: 2010 when he “broke out” with a .304/.398/.569 line in 495 PA between AA Binghamton and AAA Buffalo as a 24-year old that earned him his big league debut.
How analogous are Duda’s two wrist injuries separated by over seven years and many professional paychecks? I do not know precisely. The hands (top and bottom) do different things in a player’s swing, but a batter needs both. Also, Duda’s collegiate improvement was likely a result of both improving health and physical and mental development.