There is something about Lucas Duda that the New York Mets love. In 121 games last season, Duda hit for a .239 average with 57 RBIs, 15 home runs and 120 strikeouts.
However, even with his struggles last season, the Mets decided coming into spring training that Duda was going to be their starting left fielder. Duda responded to the team’s confidence in him by starting spring training 0-7 with six strikeouts at the plate.
After his rough start in the Grapefuit League, there were some rumors that Duda’s seemingly untouchable starting spot could be in jeopardy. Collin Cowgill, Jordany Valdespin and Marlon Byrd, all of who were thought of as platoon players coming into spring training, were outplaying him. However, Duda has found his stroke, hitting for .348 with five home runs since his terrible start.
Duda is supposed to provide some power for a lineup that has very little of it outside of David Wright and Ike Davis. The Mets’ confidence in the young outfielder has paid off for now, as he seems to have worked out his hitting woes. There is no guarantee that his spring training hot streak will carry into the regular season, but it creates some excitement for an outfield with perhaps the lowest expectations in the entire MLB.
The Mets have stuck with Duda through his tough times over the last year or so, as they see him as an everyday starter for the team. If he can continue to hit home runs and cut down on the strikeouts, Duda could finally have the breakout year the team has been expecting.