On April 18, Sandy Alderson decided to part ways with Ike Davis instead of having a platoon at first between he and Lucas Duda. At the time, I was speculative of the move because I wasn’t sure if Duda had the chops to play first base, and I was unsure that he could provide a consistent bat in the middle of the New York Mets‘ lineup. Well, I was wrong, and with each passing game, Duda is making Alderson out to be a genius.
According to Fangraphs.com, Duda is the 26th-ranked hitter when using advanced statistics and he has a WAR of 2.0. He is batting .259 with 18 homeruns and 56 RBIs. He has been a much-needed power source in the middle of the lineup, and he is providing some quality protection for David Wright. The lineup has a completely different feel to it when Duda is swinging confidently. There’s not nearly as much pressure on Wright and Daniel Murphy to drive the offense. Defensively, he holds his own. He may not have the defensive range of Davis, but he certainly isn’t a liability over there.
Davis, on the other hand, is only hitting .245 with seven home runs with the Pittsburgh Pirates. At this point in time, I would say that the Mets have won this trade. Since the All-Star break, Duda’s four home runs and seven RBIs, and he has been solely responsible for the two wins the Mets had over the Milwaukee Brewers in their most recent series.
Is it that crazy to think that Duda may be the first baseman of the future for the Mets? I don’t think so. Duda is 28 years old, and he is entering the prime of his career. He has already shown this year that he can be an effective power bat if given the opportunites. He’s not going to be a guy who will hit close to .300, but he does have a chance to hit nearly 30 home runs and 90 RBIs. If I’m the Mets, I take that in a heartbeat because they haven’t had a legitimate bat at first base since the days of Carlos Delgado.
Alderson showed his confidence in Duda, and Duda has certainly reciprocated by having a career year.