It looks like the Lucas Duda Era has come to an end. Apparently, four games is enough for manager Terry Collins and the New York Mets to decide that Duda is not capable of playing first base every day.
Duda had a grand total of 17 plate appearances since being named the “starting” first baseman on Friday. He had a batting average of .250 in that span. He only got on base at a .294 clip, but he put up a .625 slugging percentage. He had two homers and four RBIs, although they all came in one game.
Like the rest of the team, he struck out a lot — six times — and walked only once. He’s gotten more aggressive, maybe in response to all the voices yelling out that walks are bad and RBI is the only statistic that matters.
His numbers weren’t great as a starter, but certainly respectable. And certainly worth another week in the starter’s role. Sure, it would still be a small sample size, but 17 plate appearances is positively microscopic. And an extra week might help a power hitter like Duda get into a consistent groove.
Ike Davis will now take over as the starting first baseman. For how long, we don’t know. Maybe he’ll get a longer look. How about 18 plate appearances? That should be enough to judge if he’s ready to take the reins. Besides, he’s 4 for 10 so far this season. Hey, that’s a .400 batting average! He’s as good as Ted Williams!
Davis did hit a pinch-hit, game-winning grand slam on Sunday, which accounts for all of his home runs and RBIs this year. He’s a marginally better first baseman than Duda, but his defense has regressed over the past couple of years.
So now, he gets his shot. Can he handle the job? Like Duda, this is his chance to prove he can. If he can revert to the form he displayed in the second half of 2012, when he hit 20 home runs and had an .888 OPS, first base is his. The big question is, will Collins and the Mets give him enough plate appearances to make an informed judgement, or will they continue their small-sample-size evaluating ways?