They say that patience is a virtue, but for the New York Mets, it’s a hitting philosophy. The Mets have made an organizational commitment to taking pitches, working counts, drawing walks, waiting for the right pitch and knocking starting pitchers out of games early.
While players like Ruben Tejada and David Wright have mastered this strategy, Lucas Duda has taken it too far, and has been too patient at the plate this season.
Duda leads the team in both walks and on-base percentage, which would be great if he hit at the top of the order, but he doesn’t. Duda is a middle-of-the-order power hitter who the Mets need to drive in runs for them, something he has failed to do this season.
Although he is tied for fifth on the team, Duda has just 10 RBIs this season, and six of those have been driving in himself on his six home runs. Obviously, he can’t be blamed for the batters in front of him not getting on base, and it doesn’t help that he’s been moved around in the order, but Duda is barely averaging one RBI every three games, which is unacceptable.
Although Duda has done well to follow team policy, he needs to adjust his approach and become more aggressive at the plate, especially in RBI situations. He has become too focused on taking pitches and working counts, and as a result, he is allowing pitches pass by that he should be able to drive, especially early in the count.
If Duda becomes too aggressive, he could start to struggle the way his teammate Ike Davis has struggled this season. But there has to be a middle ground that he can find, so that he can keep taking walks when they come to him, but also go to the plate looking to drive in runs.
Patience is a good thing to have, but Duda needs to recognize when it’s time to be aggressive and when he needs to seize the opportunity to drive in runs. Until he can do that, he won’t become the power hitter and RBI machine that the Mets need him to be.