Lucas Duda – Future Mets Star Or Trade Bait?

Lucas Duda is a prospect that has had his name mentioned at times to be traded away for a veteran pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee. Duda is not a player to over look to be a future star for the Mets. The 24-year-old lefty batting, right-handed throwing, outfielder has played only 20 games with the Buffalo Bisons but Lucas Duda has splashed onto the Triple-A scene in historic fashion. His power numbers have been coming through at minors’ highest level.

Despite standing in the batter’s box at an imposing 6’5″ and 240 pounds, Lucas Duda was not known as much of a home run hitter coming into 2010.

The Mets 7th round pick of the 2007 Draft had just 24 total homer in his first three pro seasons combined. He had four long balls in his first year with Single-A Brooklyn, 11 in 2008 with Single-A St. Lucie and nine more last season with Binghamton at the Double-A level.

However, Duda has broken out of his shell in 2010…and in a big way.

The newest power hitter in the Mets’ system has 13 home runs already this year, seven of which have come in a record-breaking debut with the Buffalo Bisons.

Duda has found the sweet spot regularly with the Herd since a June 14 promotion from Binghamton. The outfielder has driven in 22 runs with 23 hits in his first 20 games and matched an all-time Buffalo record by homering in five consecutive games from June 29 – July 2.

That put Duda firmly in the Bisons record books with some impressive names, including Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famers Ollie Carnegie, Carlos Garcia and Bill Selby. That last Bison to homer in five straight was third baseman Andy Marte in 2006. The current third baseman of the Cleveland Indians.

The great week at the plate was also noticed by the International League, who dubbed him with its Batter the Week. He led the IL with five home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage during the stretch. He is the third Bison to win the honor this year, joining Mike Hessman and Jesus Feliciano.

Duda was supposed to arrive in Triple-A  earlier in the season. The Mets had their eyes on the prospect early, but a right hamstring strain slowed down Duda’s progress.

“Before the injury I felt great, but obviously that slowed me down a little bit,” Duda said. “I think now I’m starting to pick up some good at-bats and have some good swings.”

Duda’s good swings have mean runs on the board for the Bisons. But although the honors and attention that have come from the home run stretch are nice feathers in Duda’s cap, in the end his objective for the season remains the same.

“I would rather win some games than have that streak and honor, that’s always the bigger goal.”

Duda has proven himself a great power hitter, contact hitter, and has proven himself able to drive in runs on a daily bases. Duda’s defense is not exactly Beltran and Pagan level as he has three errors with the Bisons, and he doesn’t have the throwing arm of Francoeur but he does prove himself to be valuable in the outfield. I’ve had the honor of watching him play while in Buffalo and he is not a name that should be thrown in to be traded away. He runs out every hit and can hustle his way to gaining an extra base on a hit.

Fernando Martinez was the last outfielder to have this much hype, but injuries have slowed down his progression to returning to the Majors, and Jesus Feliciano, at age 30, will not be helping us in the future. I’m okay with trading away F-Mart, but Duda is not a name that should be thrown into the mix of possible trade bait for a starting pitcher, as he could be a great future outfielder.