Wednesday, August 6, 2014


At one point it looked like the New York Mets had zero first baseman when both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda opened up the 2014 season with the team.  With both men failing to put together any sort of consistency since becoming regulars, the team actually toyed with the idea of splitting the job between the two.  However eventually in spring training a competition was held between the two for the starting first baseman's job once and for all which Duda eventually won.  Despite the "victory" however, Duda was anything but a guarantee after hitting a woeful .239 and .223 in 2012 and 2013.  However the Mets gave him a strong vote of confidence by dealing away Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates early on in the season and the results since them have been startling to say the least.  Perhaps finding comfort in not having another player looking over his shoulder or perhaps the light bulb just simply went off, the fact of the matter is that Duda almost seemed to turn on the power-hitting/top ten fantasy baseball first baseman switch from that point on to the tune of a collective 20 home runs in 333 at-bats with RBI.  Duda even chipped in with a solid enough for him .261 batting average going into Tuesday's games for good measure.  Put it all together and what we have now is a guy in Duda who is now in the conversation as an everyday fantasy baseball first baseman and not someone who was primarily relegated to only UTIL or CI duty at best prior to his breakout. 

As far as what changed for Duda outside of the elimination of Davis as a distraction, we can see that he did in fact make some nice gains with his advanced numbers that have helped him elevate his numbers into a much higher stratosphere.  For one, Duda successfully lowered his previously very high K rate, moving the number from last season's 26.6 percent to this season's 21.1.  That is a nice leap and is the primary reason he has been able to hold an average around .260 or better.  In addition, slugging percentage has taken a nice move up north from .415 to .508.  Combined together and what you have is more consistent power as Duda reached his prime ages. 

When you look at the total picture, Lucas Duda is the classic hitter who took a bit longer to find his bearings at the major league level but who eventually has hid talent bubble to the surface in the form of power and RBI.  He is still horrendous against lefties which limits how high he can reach for the time being but Duda has a chance to come very close to the hallowed 30 home run mark which is prime territory for a first baseman.  This stock is moving in the right direction.


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