published by Keith Gendron
Most Mets fans, including myself have seen and heard enough of Lucas Duda. Especially when the topic is defense, any fly ball his way, has fans gasping. But, since Ike Davis appears to be sticking around as well, if not at first base, Duda will again see time in the Outfield as well as DH opportunities in interleague series. However, injuries and the possibility of even platooning at leftfield with Chris Young if he doesn’t start the season at centerfield, Duda may just be growing into his own……offensively.
You see, Duda turns 28 years young tomorrow and he is entering his prime years, athletically. Although his confidence has always been a deterrent from him reaching his potential, he has been showing improvement each year……offensively. From 2011, in his first “full season”, he averaged 1 homer/30 atbats and 1 bb/per 10.5 plate appearances. Improving on his numbers in 2012 and in 2013 progressing to 1 homer/per 21.2 ab and 1 bb/7 ab. That is an improvement in power of almost 30% and patience at the plate of 35%. These numbers are playing against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Against right-handed pitching only in 2013 his homerun ratio was 1 every 18.8 ab. Giving Duda 400 ab against righties this year only he could potentially hit 20 homers, strictly platooning. He also hit at a.462 slg clip against righties last year in comparison to .301 vs. lefties. His obp was higher than slugging pct. against lefties with a .309 obp. Just putrid numbers, confirming his obvious platoon player future.
With gold-glove caliber centerfielders in Lagares or Chris Young to his left, some of the pressure should be removed from Duda defensively. Also, the addition of Curtis Granderson should help Duda’s approach and hopefully assist in the progression of Duda….offensively.