As things stand today, the Mets’ lineup would probably have to be considered middle-of-the-pack.They don’t really have any star hitters outside of Yoenis Cespedes, though guys like Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and possibly even Jay Bruce are solid supplemental guys. The team’s lineup will probably play second-fiddle to its own best rotation in baseball.
Unless Lucas Duda plays to his true potential.
The Mets’ entire lineup could look much different if Duda hits like he did in 2014. Duda batted .253/.349/.481 that season with 30 home runs and 92 RBIs that year, by far his best season in the majors. Since then, he’s been inconsistent at best and nonexistent at worst– he was very slump-prone in 2015 and played in only 47 games last year.
The absence of a true offensive first baseman was something that definitely hamstrung the Mets for much of last season, as they were forced to use a combination of James Loney, Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell at the position. Those three combined for just 16 home runs and 56 RBIs over 133 games last season. Duda could double both of those totals at his best.
If Duda can fill this void this season, the Mets could be an offensive force to be reckoned with– not to mention their ability to keep runners off the board. He has shown some signs of life this spring, hitting .244/.326/.585 with three homers and nine RBIs in 16 games. Something resembling that .585 slugging percentage would make everyone around the Mets very, very, very happy if he were able to put up anything resembling that during the season.
Duda will also have the extra motivation of playing for a contract this season, as he will be a free agent. Remember when Adrian Beltre hit 48 home runs during his contract year? The Mets could use something like that, and so can Duda– he could cash in big time.
The Mets had the second-most homers in the Majors last season without a healthy or productive Duda. With Duda back, it’s not inplausable to think that they could be No. 1 there.