January 02, 2007

Lo Duca's a rare catch

At Pro Trade, they talk about the value of Paul LoDuca and how rare a player he is:

Paul Lo Duca is an easy guy to like. He is kind of small for a catcher, plays hard and says the right things at the right time when a microphone is thrust in his face. He is a true leader at a time in sports when leaders are hard to find. Bravo. Unfortunately, leadership qualities in baseball and football impact stock value less than basketball. Eliminate leadership from the equation and Paul Lo Duca's stock value is almost entirely determined by where he hits in the Mets lineup.

It is uncommon for a catcher to hit second in baseball. However, Lo Duca's ability to take pitches made him an ideal compliment to speedy Jose Reyes last season. Reyes had plenty of speed but lacked base stealing savvy. Enter Ricky Henderson. The Mets invited Henderson to training camp last year to help develop a thief's mentality in Reyes. The Mets knew that for Reyes to flourish he needed to be more aggressive and required a patient hitter hitting behind him. Lo Duca was the perfect fit. The plan worked and Reyes had a breakout season.

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