Lucas Duda or Ike Davis.
It took until mid-April for Sandy Alderson to finally make a decision that he was going with Lucas Duda at first base, and therefore, trading away Ike Davis. Since then, a day on Twitter can’t pass without some Mets fan tweeting the comparison numbers between Ike and Duda. It never stops.
But what has been lost in the ongoing debate about who the future first baseman of the Mets should be is the handling of Josh Satin.
The Mets have a player in Satin who presents a perfect platoon opportunity. He hits lefties and hits them well. His career OPS numbers vs. LHP relative to the league’s split of right-handed hitters against lefties is 33% above average. The only thing preventing him from hitting lefties is playing time.
If we leave Ike Davis out of the conversation, since he only had a few at bats vs. southpaws while he was still on the Mets this season, and compare Lucas Duda to Josh Satin, we notice a disturbing pattern.
Satin has more plate appearances vs. LHP than Duda this season, but not by a wide margin. This is because the Mets see Duda as an everyday first baseman now that they have traded Davis. It doesn’t seem to matter that Satin is clearly the better option against southpaws considering his career statistics. And this is where the Mets are missing the point.
The debate to start the season, when the Mets inexplicably came up with the idea of playing three different first baseman in three straight games, should have been a simple one. The Mets had two left-handed hitters who can’t hit lefties, and one right-handed batter who can. They should have made an early decision on trading Ike, thus keeping Duda, but from the start, playing him in a pure platoon role with Josh Satin.
Instead, there was mass confusion surrounding the first base position, it took too long to make a decision on Ike, and Satin is 3-28 so far this season. He is not receiving enough regular at-bats, both because it isn’t often the Mets face a lefty to begin with and, for some reason, he is not guaranteed a start when they do. It makes it hard for a player like Satin to get into a groove.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.