Lucas Duda is one of the best power hitters in the National League. That’s not a typo, folks. His batting stats as of 8/25: 26 hrs, 76 r.b.i., .260 batting avg. He ranks third in the NL in home runs. R.b.i. & slugging? He ranks 6th in each category. And to think the Mets had him platooning with the now-departed Ike Davis to start the season. GM Sandy Alderson ultimately decided to commit to Duda by shipping Davis to Pittsburgh for two prospects. But that brought on more drama.
There was a faction within the local media who were biased in favor of Davis due to the fact that he’s a classy, outgoing personality whereas Duda is a quiet, unassuming type who takes time to get to know. Andy Martino of the Daily News went so far as to question his own objectivity after the Davis trade & he made a good point. Media members are still (barely) human. And their personal opinions creep into their so-called objectivity on a daily basis. Same as any human, barely or otherwise. Some media members just liked Davis better and it translated into some biased articles in favor of keeping Ike over Duda.
Duda always had a sweet swing but the question for me was whether he could make enough consistent contact to be an everyday first baseman. There was also some doubt whether he could hit left-handers. His fielding also left a lot to be desired. It didn’t help he has a butcher at 2nd base playing alongside him. But he persevered and his work ethic has paid off exponentially. He is currently tied for second in the NL among first basemen with a .996 fielding percentage. Only Justin Morneau currently has fewer errors in the Senior Circuit.
His approach at the plate has evolved, by taking fewer fat pitches & depositing the mistakes over the fence. Turns out his run producing ability has proven to be formidable & consistent especially during the month of August, with 12 homers & 27 r.b.i. and still a week’s worth of games left to go before September kicks in.
Lucas Duda has provided the Mets with one of the only shining lights in an otherwise putrid offensive display this season. His presence allows Alderson some leeway this coming offseason to rebuild their offense. Another bat in the middle of the lineup would go a long way toward helping this team contend in the future, along with the fine young pitching that’s already apparent. It appears Duda will be a valuable part of that rebuild. And no one seems to mention Ike Davis in the Citi Field clubhouse anymore.