How Good Could A Duda/Flores Platoon Be?

wilmer flores lucas duda

If you’re pressed for time, here’s the short answer: Very good.

The Mets have Lucas Duda at first, Neil Walker at second, Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop, David Wright at third, and Jose Reyes in a super utility role. Not mentioned in that list is fan favorite Wilmer Flores.

Flores is relatively proficient at every infield position, and with Reyes filling in for Wright on his days off, he will be hard pressed to find time in the field. He has shown his value as a late game pinch-hitter, but there is another way he could get playing time.

Cabrera and Walker are both switch hitters so there is no need to platoon with them. With third base occupied, the only position left is first base where Lucas Duda lives.

Most successful platoons consist of a righty and a lefty, so with Flores and Duda filling those roles respectively, at first glance it makes sense. Before deciding definitively whether or not this platoon is a good idea, though, one must delve into their statistics facing righty and lefty pitchers. First, here are Lucas Duda’s career splits:

Against Right: .254/.358/.478, 1670 AB, 91 HR (18.35 AB/HR)
Against Left:   .224/.295/.364, 572 AB, 17 HR (33.65 AB/HR)

There is a clear difference in his career splits as overall he has fared better against righties. It is important to note, however, that in 2015, his last full season, he hit .285/.333/.545 with seven home runs in 123 at bats (17.57 AB/HR) against lefties, while hitting .230/.358/.466 with 20 home runs in 348 at bats (17.40 AB/HR) against righties.

Though he had reverse splits in 2015, that is a small sample size compared to the rest of his career. Wilmer Flores‘ stats, on the other hand, are clearer of late. Here are Wilmer Flores’ splits in 2015-16:

Against Right: .244/.283/.356, 590 AB, 14 HR (42.14 AB/HR)
Against Left:   .325/.369/.655, 200 AB, 18 HR (11.11 AB/HR)

Flores has absolutely mashed left handed pitching for the last two seasons. If you combine Duda’s 2014, in which he was healthy and played 153 games, and Flores’s 2016 in which he played 102 games as a backup, you’ve got a star:

Against Right: .273/.372/.543, 403 AB, 28 HR (14.39 AB/HR)
Against Left:   .340/.383/.710, 100 AB, 11 HR (9.09 AB/HR)
Total: .286/.374/.577, 503 AB, 39 HR (12.90 AB/HR), 110 RBI

Wilcas Fluda could theoretically put up MVP numbers. As most starting pitchers are right handed, the lineup will usually feature Lucas Duda. However, when he starts, Flores will provide a strong bat off the bench for tight situations, and vice versa.

Duda has shown that he is above average defensively, and with increased exposure at the position, Flores could develop into a comparable defensive first baseman as well. As both are right-handed throwers, theoretically, there could be little discrepancy defensively.

The Mets have a very deep infield. So good that T.J. Rivera, who hit .333 in the majors and .353 at AAA in 2016, will likely start the season back in the minors. If the Mets want to capitalize on that depth, as well as have All Star production from first base, platooning Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores could be the way to go.

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About Logan Barer 551 Articles
Ever since I experienced Mike Piazza's post 9/11 home run to beat the Braves at Shea, I have been a die-hard Mets fan and exhaustive lover of baseball. I am a recent graduate of Ithaca College where I pitched on the varsity baseball team for four years and have been writing for MetsMerized Online since January of 2015. Follow me on twitter @LBarer32