After struggling in 29 games in 2010, Lucas Duda came roaring back in 2011, posting a .292 batting average in 100 games played over 301 at-bats. Duda stroked 21 doubles, 10 home runs and 50 RBI, and showed he could be a nice cog in the Mets lineup. So after a nice showing last year from Duda, what can we expect from Lucas this upcoming season?
With Ike Davis healthy and back at first base, Duda will spend most of his time in right field this season. In limited time there last season, it became painfully obvious at times that he needs to improve defensively. All too often we saw routine flyballs become harrowing misadventures for Duda – mostly because of bad routes to the ball and not reading the ball well off the bat. Regardless, Mets manager Terry Collins said he sees Duda as the Mets full-time right fielder in 2012. Duda is expected to report to spring training early to get a jump start with his coaches on his work in right field.
Offensively, expectations are high. Duda’s bat has shown great promise and late last season, we saw him drive the ball to all fields while coming up with some clutch hits and driving in some big runs for the Mets.
Since he was recalled last June, Duda’s pitch selection improved greatly and he swung at less pitches out of the strike zone which situated him into a lot of hitters counts. For a young hitter sometimes this can be very difficult, but Duda showed some great poise in the second half of last season.
Expect Duda to continue to improve and put up similar numbers to what he posted in the second half of last season. At 26 years of age, and with limited time in the majors, Mets will rely heavily on his bat during the 2012 season.