Yes, I know, I know, I know… Jose Abreu has 25 home runs and looks like the second coming of Hank Greenberg. I know, I know, I know… We should’ve signed him. But don’t you think 28 other teams are thinking the same thing right about now?
Sometimes, the unlikely happens and a prospect actually matches or exceeds the hype. That’s certainly what has happened here and it’s too bad we didn’t have the benefit of hindsight back in December. Oh well.
Still, there was more than one obstacle preventing us from landing this Cuban phenom, and chief among them is present ownership – Fred and Jeff.
Perhaps if the Mets weren’t limited to a Kansas City Royals-sized payroll, we could have gambled a few extra bucks on an unknown quantity like Abreu – even with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda firmly entrenched on the 25-man roster. But anyhow, that ship has sailed. Onward and upward.
I’ll tell you what, few have been as critical of Lucas Duda as I’ve been over the years. But considering how his season has transpired so far, maybe I was wrong. Maybe his best was yet to come and now with a regular position and (somewhat) regular playing time, we’re seeing the Lucas Duda we were hoping for three years ago. Better late than never.
Duda is continuing to rake at the plate – and more importantly – he’s been driving in some desperately needed runs. Last night, his two-run single in the fourth accounted for all of the Mets offense. He’s on pace for 35 doubles, 26 home runs and 85 RBI this season.
The Mets’ hulking first baseman is is batting .288 (21-for-73) with five homers and 17 RBIs in June and his OPS is now at a very robust .825 for the season. He’s also hitting home runs with greater frequency, blasting a pair in consecutive games just this week for the third time in his career.
“That’s the kind of power he’s got, so we’re happy he’s producing those runs,” Collins said. “You continue to get those guys ahead of him on base and if he keeps swinging the way he is, he’s going to accumulate some RBIs.”
I read some great analysis on how hard Duda has been hitting the ball by ESPN’s Mark Simon. The stats guru writes:
Duda has produced a hard-hit ball in 23 percent of his opportunities (at-bats plus sacrifice flies) this season. That ranks eighth among the 210 players with at least 200 plate appearances this season, fifth-best in the National League. Two Pirates, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, rank in the top three, sandwiched around Braves slugger Evan Gattis.
Duda’s 2014 rate matches that of Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, arguably the game’s top slugger, and well exceeds that of former teammate Ike Davis (14 percent).
I’ll take that kind of production everyday plus Sundays.
Duda has always been one of those love’m or hate’m type of players at the plate. But since he’s become more aggressive in his approach, the numbers are what you want from a middle-of-the-order hitter and as a result a lot of fans are coming around on him. Me included.
Sure I wish we could have signed Jose Abreu, but we didn’t. Blame Fred and Jeff. But on the plus side, Lucas Duda is looking like a nice consolation prize so far. Let’s hope he continues to hit like this and perhaps even take it to another level.
Let’s Go Mets!