New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda got something this September that few people get, a second chance. The Mets have given up on Duda as an outfielder, and so after being recalled from the minors, he appeared destined to spend the rest of the season on the Mets’ bench. But with the injury to Ike Davis, which ended his season and possibly his tenure with the Mets, Duda got a second chance to play first base on an every day basis. However, he has not taken advantage of that opportunity.
Duda took over at first base in June when Davis was sent to the minors, and he started to look far more comfortable at the plate than he did as an outfielder, leading to a surge in productivity. Unfortunately, Duda was injured soon after, taking away his chance to prove himself as the Mets’ first baseman. Davis’ injury has given Duda a second chance to play first base on a regular basis, but Duda has been unable to produce.
Despite hitting four home runs and driving in 10 runs, Duda has hit just .205 in the month of September. He’s averaging a strikeout per game over that time and still hasn’t become the run producer the Mets were hoping he would.
For the season, Duda has a line of .225/.349/.422, which is far below what the Mets think he’s capable of doing. Even his numbers against right-handed pitching are below what the Mets need at first base, which makes him below average at first, even as a platoon player. Also, while he’s a competent defensive first baseman, his defense isn’t exceptional and doesn’t compensate for his lack of productivity at the plate.
The Mets will have to make an important decision this offseason about how to proceed at 1B, and Duda will certainly be part of the discussion. But after the way he’s performed this September, the Mets are unlikely to look at him favorably as a solution to their first base conundrum in 2014. This September was a second chance to prove himself, and he failed to take advantage of that opportunity, which means his future with the Mets and in the big leagues is uncertain.