Lucas Duda

If Duda doesn't hit like he did in 2014, the rest of the lineup suffers. (Photo ref used for drawing)

If Duda doesn’t hit like he did in 2014, the rest of the lineup suffers. (Photo ref used for drawing)

OK, I’m going to get back on track with the Mets posts/drawings, especially now that we’re a month away from players reporting to Spring Training. It’s a snowy/rainy/wintry mess kind of day here in New York and the thought of baseball starting up again cheers me up immensely. I’ve already done Terry Collins and Travis d’Arnaud.

As for Duda, I was uncertain about him at first last year, especially when there was that whole “Should they start Ike Davis or Duda?” controversy at the beginning of Spring Training and neither of them helped the front office make an early decision by both getting hurt and not being able to grab the job. Eventually, the team saw enough of Davis sulking back to the dugout after striking out yet again and traded him, which gave the job to the hulking 28-year-old Californian.

The results were quite pleasant, with his hitting 30 homers a pleasant offensive output for a team that had only three (THREE) hitters even break double digits in home runs. His only black mark was his .180 batting average against lefthanders, a mark that is going to have to improve if he’s to get over 600 at-bats.

While he’s not able to do the catch-a-foul-ball-and-tumble-into-the-dugout feat that Davis seemed to make routine, he made 7 errors last season for a .994 fielding percentage… which is pretty good for someone who has quite a few fielding chances. I think it was the fact that he wasn’t worried that he was going to be yanked for Davis at any given time that allowed him to be more comfortable with the glove.

I think he’s really feeling good now and if new hitting coach Kevin Long can help him like he’s done with Curtis Granderson, then opposing pitchers might fear this batting order even more.

Why am I not completely sold yet? I remember Davis having a 30+ homer year once, but if Duda does solve lefties more, then we could see a 40+homer season… regardless of where the Citi Field fences are. Here’s hoping.

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