Lucas Duda Could be a Major Liability for New York Mets Once Again
Duda is a below-average defensive outfielder who needs to be productive at the plate in order to serve some purpose on the team. However, his offensive numbers last year rival his defensive capabilities, which is not good. The left-handed batter hit .239 with 15 home runs, 57 RBI, 15 doubles and 120 strikeouts in 401 at-bats in 2012. He was even sent down to the minors last season to help improve his swing, but all he did was bat .260 in 25 games.
Considering Duda is projected to be the everyday left fielder, he must figure out a way to improve his batting skills. Ideally, the Mets would like to see him hit for power or bat for average, but failing to accomplish either is not helping anyone.
The 27-year-old is currently batting .233 with one home run, three RBI, two doubles and 12 strikeouts in 30 at-bats this spring. The good news is that a .233 batting average is a huge improvement considering he was hitting .158 with 10 strikeouts in his first 19 at-bats.
Duda was a part of the worst offensive outfield in the big leagues last season. New York’s eight outfielders combined for a .222 batting average in 607 at-bats while collecting a mere 22 home runs and 80 RBI. It is also certainly not a good sign when Scott Hairston and Jason Bay, the two most productive outfielders on the team, are no longer with the organization. If the Mets want any chance of competing in the National League East this year, this group of men must buck up and start pulling their own weight.
The fact that Duda is 4-for-17 in his last six games is not encouraging, but at least he went 3-for-3 against the Houston Astros on March 9 to show some sort of promise.