Lucas Duda Has the Most to Prove in 2014

There are many players that have a lot to prove in 2014. Let’s break it down between our position players and pitchers. 

Position Players

Ruben Tejada needs to prove he is a major league shortstop.  Daniel Murphy needs to prove he can improve defensively, while maintaining his offensive prowess.  Ike Davis needs to prove that Valley Fever isn’t derailing his career the same way it did Connor Jackson’s.  Travis d’Arnaud needs to prove he can stay healthy, and live up to his top prospect billing. Wilmer Flores needs to prove he can play a position defensively, or hit enough to play first base. Curtis Granderson needs to prove he can hit home runs outside the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium at age 33. Juan Lagares needs to prove he can hold his own at the plate. Chris Young needs to prove that he isn’t a 4th outfielder at this point in his career, and Eric Young Jr. needs to prove that he can get on base enough to warrant getting his speed into the lineup.

Pitchers

Zack Wheeler needs to prove he can improve his command and pitch deeper into the ballgames.  Jon Niese needs to prove he is a top of the rotation pitcher, and that his shoulder is healthy. Bartolo Colon needs to prove he can pitch without the use of PEDs at age 41. Dillon Gee needs to prove that he is the pitcher we saw from the Yankee sweep to the end of the season, instead of the pitcher we saw the first two months of 2013, and Jenrry Mejia needs to prove he can stay healthy enough to pitch in a major league rotation. Bobby Parnell needs to prove he IS a closer at the major league level for a FULL season, and all the young bullpen arms need to prove they belong on the team, but the player who has THE most to prove in 2014 is: Lucas Duda.

lucas duda

Duda mashed the ball coming up through the system, and was one of the best hitters in the NL for the second half of 2011 when he got an extensive look as the team’s first baseman.  He struggled at the plate in 2012 as he took his defensive woes from learning to play the outfield with him into the batters box.  Duda started the 2013 season hot at the plate, and went 4-4 in his first start at 1B in Atlanta after Ike was sent to AAA.  He subsequently strained his oblique, and remained on the DL for all of July and most of August. He’s stated publicly that he wasn’t comfortable playing the outfield, and it really affected his performance at the plate. And yet Terry Collins said he will play him in the outfield anyway in 2014.

A closer look at the numbers shows that Duda’s 2013 season wasn’t bad at all, particularly against RHP (.831 OPS), and he looked comfortable defensively at 1B after getting the opportunity late in the season.

Duda has tremendous power potential and a really good eye at the plate.  If he can resemble the Lucas Duda of 2011 that led the NL in OBP after the break in which he hit .291, and continue to improve on the power that he showed in early 2013 by hitting 11 HRs in the first 55 games of the season, then Duda could be a force at 1B for years to come.

I love his patient approach, but he does need to be a bit more aggressive in RBI situations, although I’m not sure he’s getting quite as many “fastballs right down the middle” as we suggest when he’s at the plate with runners on base. He was really good with RISP in 2011 & 2012, so I think the poor numbers in 2013 were due to a small sample size.  He should be at 1B in 2014, and its time for Duda to show that he is the power hitting middle of the lineup first baseman we all thought he would become after his stellar 2011 showing.  If he doesn’t prove it this year, he will most likely be playing somewhere else in 2015.

Presented By Diehards

  • Hodges14

    Lucas Duda is definitely the Rodney Dangerfield of the Mets. He gets no respect. I can just imagine the talk he got from Collins when they met for ST.

    Collins: Sorry Lucas, but the front office couldn’t give Ike Davis away this winter so although we were planning to give you a shot at first base we’re going to go with Ike. What could we do? No one else wanted him.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Surprised Duda is your choice for “most to prove.” Ike is the guy who was supposed to get traded. Duda was barely discussed all offseason and now he has to prove something?

    If anything Ike needs to prove not trading him was the right choice or the FO needs to prove TO DUDA that they want him playing 1B.

  • Hodges14

    I don’t think not trading Ike was the front office’s choice so much as the lack of interest from the other 29 teams.

  • Tacohow

    Duda, Davis, tejada, D’arnaud, legares all could be on the team the next 5 years or out of the majors depending on their production at the major league level. The question with duda and legares might be whether they will be given s chance, as the team seems to be standing behind Davis and EY right now

  • BehindTheBag

    Feel bad for Duda…most to prove, least likely to be able to prove it.

  • Anthony

    So long as you don’t need a clutch hit duda is fine

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    There was interest, but Sandy seems to have asked for too much. You can trade any player if your price is low enough. If they really wanted to trade him, they could have.

  • Pedro

    The Mets are not going to win anything this year, but for
    sure this is going to be an interesting season. 2015, Mets championship.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    WOW!! Jenrry Mejia is in TERRIBLE shape…

    Locker mates! Colon finds his locker next to Mejia. #Mets #SpringTraining pic.twitter.com/2bGYpgediX— New York Mets (@Mets) February 15, 2014

  • metsman

    He got pushed aside in 2012 and the Mets have set him up to fail ever since.

  • El_Verdadero_Presidente

    Duda has a cut Ike couldn’t match if they gave him Ted Williams’ head. It boggles my mind how Duda’s never put it together, with that eye and bat speed.

    But I guess what I’m really saying is it boggles my mind Davis ever accomplished anything, with his swing. The ugliest, loopiest, airiest, most one-handed flailing piece of crap anybody north of Sunday softball has ever dragged to the plate and then dragged back to his chair again. Forget Seaver, the guy who fixes Ike should get his statue first.

  • KennyandtheMets

    How is it Duda and not Davis? Ike was a 1st rounder.

  • KennyandtheMets

    I think Duda’s problem is mental He is too passive. He needs to trust that good stroke and be more aggressive.

  • Connor O’Brien

    Duda has already proven he can hit for power against right-handers. Platoon him with Satin and you’re good.

  • Martin

    Risp is always random, ignore it.

  • Fast Eddie

    Well, Dexx, you certainly have touched all the bases in your analysis. Well done.

    Veloz

  • Endy10

    “Duda has tremendous power potential and a really good eye at the plate.”

    i disagree here. He’s very strong, but that doesn’t make you a good power hitter unless you know how to hit. I wouldn’t say duda has a really good eye at the plate, but that he’s just really patient. He only swings the bat when no one is on base b/c otherwise he’s nervous. How is that someone to rely on to drive in runs?

    it’s great that his obp is high, but unless he’s a leadoff hitter or hitting the ball well in addition to the strong obp, then his obp basically means nothing. Duda isn’t the type of player to try getting on base for others to knock him in, so if he isn’t driving in runs then he isn’t much help.

    obviously ike hasn’t been much better and everyone’s beat this topic to death. But me personally, I’d still take Ike. Ike was only a rookie a few years, and he’s already shown he can succeed in the big leagues, where duda has not. So I agree that duda has more to prove, but ike does as well, and all in all, i’d rather just see one of them start playing well so we can stop debating this

  • john q

    Duda can hit and get on base but he is atrocious in the field. He’s really an A.L. player, 1b/DH type and a bad fit for the Mets. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded before the season starts.

  • Hodges14

    Obviously that’s not true or they wouldn’t have had to release Jason Bay.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Jason Bay was making a heck of a lot more than Ike is.

    If the Mets wanted to trade Bay, they’d have had to eat basically his whole contract. Different situation.

  • Timmy Tuff

    Duda is horrendous with runners in scoring position and, in general, horrendous with runners on base period. I believe all but one of his home runs were with the bases empty. His batting average over the past two years (719 at bats) is .232. He never and I mean NEVER has a monster game. I mean 3-4, 4 RBI’s. Always strikes out or walks in a big spot and then will hit a bases empty home run or single. I used to love this guy, but am now convinced he absolutely stinks.

  • sperry

    It makes more sense when you realize destry is straight up in love with Duda

  • metsaholic

    Well what do you know, a monster game (by your criterion) by Lucus Duda.

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v30575933/mianym-duda-jacks-threerun-homer-in-the-sixth

    Duda hitting HR number 13 last year. A 3 run HR, which put the Mets out in front.

  • If they ate 85% of his salary, a bunch of teams would have nibbled.

  • Duda is worse than worthless.

  • metsaholic

    And your comment is worthless of the worse.

  • metsaholic

    You know, I read some of these negative comments about Duda, who I admit should not be an outfielder (neither should Ike and a lot of guys in MLB) But some of the comments are bordering on or crossed the line of reason. That is the privilege of most fans. Goodness knows, I could not stand Jason Bay and posted my share of comments indicating my total disgust. But Duda is not making 66 million and is not the clean up hitter of the franchise. That said, I would invite you all to review some games, particularly games Duda played at 1st base after Ike was demoted. Look at his batting style vs Ikes. Try to imagine his production over a full season. Think about the realities of the game and how historically the first basemen on a good team, is not always the guy who hits 30 but the guy who hits 25/90/300/350. I believe Duda deserves that chance to prove to be that guy over Ike. Duda is that guy to provide a steady reliable and productive at bat for a season, playing 1st. Ike certainly has not proved he’s more capable at all.

  • metsaholic

    If he does, I’m willing to bet the house that Duda would be a more productive hitter than Ike will ever be.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think Ike has more to prove this year than Duda.

  • KennyandtheMets

    I agree. Ike just has a flawed swing. Neither one gives me a lot of confidence, but Duda could be better.

  • Pike Miazza

    “Bartolo Colon needs to prove he can pitch without the use of PEDs at 41 ” He CAN do it with the help of PEDs for all I care…just don’t get caught.

  • I think it’s d’Arnaud and Wheeler because they have the highest pedigree and expectations. If Duda proves competant, we will all be happily surprised. However, Wheeler is supposed to be our ace, and d’Arnaud is supposed to our All-Star catcher. Fair or not, their pedigree brings about these expectations, and therefore…they have the most to prove for me.

  • Hodges14

    They did eat his whole salary.

    You said:

    You can trade any player if your price is low enough. If they really wanted to trade him, they could have.

    Since they ate his whole salary anyway, why didn’t they trade him, pay his salary and get something back in return? If you can trade any player why not Bay?

  • Bail4Nails

    Stupid question: I don’t have a horse in this race, but if Duda AND Davis happen to fail, who would be next? I just looked up Satin’s stats, and they’re not bad at all. Is he even an option, outside of a platoon?

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Alright, alright. Settle down.

    I don’t even know if they tried to trade him. How about you can trade MOST any player. Does that make you feel better?

  • Taskmaster4450

    What would they have gotten in return? Who would give up anything for Bay?

    Seattle signed him to a 1 year contract for $1M. Even if the Mets ate the entire contract, nobody was giving up anything for Bay.

  • Taskmaster4450

    The Mets have a bunch of other players in camp who are out of the Ike/Duda mode…strong guys who were never able to hit.

    Personally, I like Duda over Ike although Ike has the inside track.

  • Hodges14

    Read the entire thread.

  • ruben tejodio

    I think they will both do well this ST… ike will show his power stroke and Duda will hit with some pop and average… keep duda and trade crying Ike if his stock goes up …