New York Mets: Lucas Duda proving 2014 season was no fluke


The New York Mets are off to a fantastic start to the 2015 season, and part of that has been due to the production from first base.

Last season, the Mets may not have been having the success that they are this season, but it did lead to a breakout season for first baseman Lucas Duda. The Mets had the big dilemma of whether to move forward with either Duda or Ike Davis at first base. The Mets’ brass would decide to move forward with Duda at first base.

Davis would be traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in order to give Duda the job outright. There was a lot of discussion on whether or not it was the right move to make at the time, but about a year later it has proved to be the right one.

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In 2014, Duda would play in 153 games, and had one of the best seasons of any power-hitter in the National League. Duda would total 30 homeruns, 92 RBI, .253 batting average, and a .349 OBP. The 30 homeruns for Duda would place him third in the National League in homeruns behind only Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs.

With mainly the Pirates, Davis was unable to put up stats close to Duda, as he finished the 2014 season totaling a .233 batting average, 11 homeruns, and 51 RBI. The lack of production once again for Davis proved the Mets’ move right to make Duda their guy at first base

Duda came into the 2015 season with a lot to prove, as before 2014 he wasn’t near the player that he was last year. The major knock for Duda in 2014 was that he struggled to hit left-handing pitching. In 125 plate appearances against left-handers last season, Duda batted a dreadful .180 with just two homeruns and 10 RBI. The Mets need Duda to at least be decent against left-handed pitchers, and so far this season, Duda has answered the call.

Apr 19, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) tosses his bat after being walked in the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In 10 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season, Duda has already totaled five hits, which gives him an outstanding .556 batting average. The sample size is small for Duda against left-handers this season, but he has shown signs of great improvement against them. Duda seems to have a much better eye when facing left-handers, as he only has two strikeouts in 10 plate appearances compared to 41 strikeouts and 11 walks last season.

The Mets have some high expectations for the 2015 season, and much of that success will come with how Duda plays. In the last calendar year, Duda has emerged as a legit middle of the order hitter, which has given Mets’ manager Terry Collins some flexibility on where to bat David Wright when he is healthy.

Having a power-hitter like Duda in the heart of the order has paid dividends for the Mets in the last year, as it is difficult to find a hitter like Duda. With recent injuries, Duda will be asked to produce as much as he can in the lineup, as it has gotten a bit thin in the last week after injuries to Wright and Travis d’Arnaud. It is early in the season, but a good start to the season for Duda should let Mets fans rest easy that 2014 was no fluke for their first baseman.

Next: Where do the Mets rank in our MLB Power Rankings?

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