Davis and Duda, both left handed, were involved in a three man platoon at the first base position for the Mets with right handed bat Josh Satin. There was no way the Mets could go an entire season rotating three players at first base, so it was inevitable that the team would have to move Davis or Duda at some point; prior to last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves the franchise made their choice, and placed their faith in the 28 year old Duda.
Now it is time for Lucas to show the franchise that they made the correct decision.
Duda seems to fit the Mets new offensive model better than Davis, one which places a premium on getting on base above all else, posting a better career OBP than Davis, .342 to .334, and an even wider gap the past two seasons Duda’s OBPs were .329 in 2012 and .352 in 2013 as opposed to Davis’ .308 and .326 respectively in those years.
In his time with the Mets Duda has never had a position to call his own, until now. The team had experimented with playing Duda at the corner outfield positions in the past, but he was never successful fielding those positions, with some speculating that playing out of position defensively was negatively effecting his offensive output.
With this move Duda will be a staple at his natural defensive position, and without the pressure have having another player waiting to take his job. It is an optimal situation for Duda now, and he must thrive if the Mets are to have a successful season.
Duda has shown that he has some power as well, hitting 15 home runs in each of the past two seasons, but, in my opinion, this move will be a mistake if Duda fails to hit between 20-25 homers this season, especially if Davis finds his stroke in Pittsburgh.
More important than the home runs will be a sharp increase in Duda’s run production. He has never driven in 60 runs in a season before, driving in only 33 runs last year in 100 games. The Mets will need him to provide run production hitting behind David Wright and Curtis Granderson to lengthen the Mets lineup.
The Mets have made their choice yesterday, now it is time for Lucas Duda to step forward and show why they were willing to part with Ike Davis or general manager Sandy Alderson will have a lot of questions to answer.