Could Lucas Duda be a Factor for the New York Mets in 2013?

Lucas Duda makes the catch

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Duda isn’t exactly a household name, however if he can materialize as one of the MLB‘s best left fielders, the New York Mets could easily be a contender in the NL East.

In three seasons at the major-league level Duda has improved every season, but he hasn’t put in a well-rounded season and 2013 might be his breakout year. The Mets aren’t exactly stockpiled in terms of offensive juggernauts as Jason Bay, Andres Torres and Scott Hairston all were contributors last season but all will be playing baseball some place else come spring.

It’s fair for the Mets to ask a lot out of Duda as he has shown flashes of greatness, yet he hasn’t been able to piece it all together. For example, Duda smashed a career-high 15 home runs last season, however his .239 average was .53 points lower than his average in 2011. Duda could be All-Star worthy if he can hover around the .290 range again and reach the 20 home run plateau.

Ike Davis and David Wright are the two scariest guys in this Mets lineup, and Duda will be batting behind them, so don’t be surprised if he is at the plate with runners in scoring position a lot. After a subpar first half last season the Mets optioned Duda to the minor leagues for over a month, and that can’t happen this year if the club hopes to rival last years NL East winning Washington Nationals.

Duda is already making changes in his batting stance, saying Friday he “just eliminated the toe tap and my hands in the past have been kind of crazy [with movement]. It’s quieter.” Hopefully a quieter stance in the batters box spells a season full of noise for this left-fielder.

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