MY FAVORITE METS PLAYERS: #10 – LUCAS DUDA, by Tom Brennan
Lucas Duda can be characterized in my Mets fan favorites universe as number 10, but always trying harder. Avis plus 8. Like a broken record, let me add: # 10 is awfully good on this great team.
Lucas is a quiet hard working guy with enormous power who is very streaky. When he first came up to the Mets, I saw his Ruthian splits against righty pitching in AAA and thought he would really be terrific. He certainly has had his moments, going on occasional home run tears that could only make you dream, as a Mets fan, as to what he might do if he ever really put it all together.
He struggled early in his career, especially when he was put out in left field to get his bat in the line up, but upon his return to first base, and winning the position over Ike Davis, he has done reasonably well the last 2 years.
From an amateur sports writer’s standpoint, I still think that Lucas is very close to being an elite power hitting first baseman. In earlier articles I’ve written on Lucas, I wrote that when he finishes his at bat with 0 strikes or one strike, his average and power numbers are absolutely terrific.
When, however, the count gets the two strikes, his results are pretty abysmal. And he gets to 2 strikes too often. Self-inflicted wounds.
Many fans including myself note that on first pitch counts, Lucas has taken a lot of fat fast balls down the middle. Given his terrific numbers early in counts, I postulate that it would result in great improvement for Duda if he were consistently more aggressive on decent first pitch strikes or on any at bat where he puts it in play with zero strikes (0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0).
In those Counts, he shouldn't work the pitcher; he should work the baseball instead, and see how far he can send the sucker flying. I truly think that just doing that one thing (more aggression early in counts) would boost his batting average and power numbers, and make him a truly dangerous hitter, as opposed to a moderately dangerous one.
On the fielding side of the ledger, Lucas is quite competent and has beaten back the arguments of many naysayers as to his skill set at that position.
I honestly think that with the very solid lineup the Mets will be putting out on the field this year, Lucas can relax in the batter’s box and not have to worry about being the main man - just get into the flow of what promises to be a very strong offense and have fun wearing out the opponents’ pitchers.
I'd not be surprised to see Lucas, if more aggressive as I suggest, putting up a .270 batting average with 35 to 40 homers and 100 RBIs. The recent article from a beat writer for a major paper indicated that Lucas was not well liked by fans. They just get frustrated by his lack of aggression at times. I think he erases that stigma big time this year and that fans will come to love him.
Lucas Duda, # 10 and trying harder. On this team, that is pretty darn good.