The Dude is Ready

ESPN

Lucas Duda isn’t your typical baseball player. At times, he resembles a lumberjack. Other times, he resembles one of those big teddy bears you win at a carnival. But does he look like the starting first basemen for the Mets?

At this point in the season, the Mets have climbed back up the Repunzel’s hair. Repunzel, the Texas Rangers, left his (her) hair for the princess. The magical .500 mark! However, Lucas Duda and the Mets climbed up instead. On Saturday, Lucas Duda was the knight in shining armor.

Sure, the numbers aren’t sexy. A combined line of .288/.292/.316 in 65 plate appearances, Duda’s power hasn’t translated at the major league level. The reason is because he hasn’t had a chance to play every day. Duda has only started in 19 games this season and was recalled twice. Manager Terry Collins hasn’t seen the obvious: if Duda gets his at-bats, the numbers will come.

Saturday was Lucas Duda’s breakout party. Duda collected 4 hits in 5 at-bats, against one of the American League’s best pitchers, Alexi Ogando. He tallied 3 doubles, smacking in 4 runs. And of course, Lucas Duda is benched the next day because the Mets were facing Derek Holland, a left-handed pitcher who has seen his share of abuse in the past.

According to FanGraphs, Duda’s BABIP (Batting Average Balls in Play) is .277 this season. It’s not sexy, but he brings a lot more to the table than fan-favorite Daniel Murphy. For one, Duda’s fielding at first base is far superior to Murphy’s. To Murphy’s credit, he is not a first basemen. Duda has that typical first basemen’s mold, a 6-foot-5 tree to throw against.

Murphy isn’t a power hitter, Lucas Duda is. Minor league numbers don’t mean much until you prove them at the next level. Murphy never had significant pop in his bat. In 2008, he hit 13 homeruns for the Mets. Duda last season hit 27 homeruns in 3 levels last season, including 4 HRs in 92 Major League plate appearances. Murphy is a line drive type hitter who can occasionally hit a nice homerun. When Duda connects, he bruises the ball in such a way you expect to hear a scream of pain erupt from the stitching.

And my final reason why Duda should start: it just makes sense. The Mets as an organization haven’t taken a chance on a prospect since Murphy. And the reason Murphy was given a chance was because the Mets had a depleted roster. To go back, the Mets only gave Jose Reyes and David Wright a valid chance to prove themselves for more than a 15-day span. Lucas Duda showed on Saturday what he is capable of. He hit against one of the American League’s most dominant arms this season.

It’s just a matter of time before manager Terry Collins realizes what he has in front of him, a big carnival teddy bear ready to mash.

Kyle Schnitzer's biggest memory as a Mets fan is when Carlos Beltran went down on strike 3 against Adam Wainwright in game 7 of the NLCS. Since then, he hasn't expected much from the Mets. The new regime gives him hope. When he's not writing here, he's writing somewhere else, bussing tables, tweeting, or riding his bike. Follow him on Twitter: @dakyleschnitzer
  1. Will June 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    Great post on a fun Mets player.

    But you don’t have to reference domestic violence (“he bruises the ball more than Chris Brown bruised Rihanna’s face.”) to make your point. There are some jokes that shouldn’t be made. You’re a good enough writer without that.

    • Mike June 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm
      Agreed. Not sure why that was even considered when you were writing it. Did you think “I’ll say something outlandish and inappropriate here”? Since when did similes become about shock value?

      One other thing is you forgot about Ike. Ike was “the last prospect the organization took a chance on.”

      The biggest reason Duda should play everyday is that he is versatile and provides something the Mets lack: power. He can play the outfield or 1B, so really he should not be out of the lineup unless Cliff Lee or some other dominant lefty is on the opposing mound and Duda could use a blow. But same with Murphy on that front. Once Wright comes back, I would love a Turner/Murphy combo at 2nd base. Not a strict platoon given Turner’s success, but equal time.

  2. Mic June 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm
    Joe. The antithesis.
    Re fmart, jeff duncan, millz, etc. Duda is winning! And doing it without expectations placed on the afore mentioned ‘ franchise saviours’

    Frankly i like duda is a first baseman who can pitch at rf and lf. As such he will play. But kudos to murph for spotting ike and dave wright ……all star caliber players and keeping us competitive. If the mets dont deal dw, then i think murph could/will have value in trade.

    If duda can win a spot full time i think lf/ rf will be it. And slowly but surely he will get ABs.

    But what of fmart? What of capt kirk? Capt kirk has done real well! But fmart when he plays has been good too. Fmart is a 3timer at aaa, cpt kirk is a newbie, but i think the capt is still older. …a luxury of Three ML ready OFers? Does BA know this?

    Rebuttle for kyle. Tad iguchi! If wags saves game2/3 there is no game 7. Without johnny maine there is no wainwright. If david wright can take a walk from bob howry but keeping his bat at his side the mets go back to the playoffs in 2007.

    Just saying….dont pick on the best all round outfielder ever to play in shea.

    Joe. Given the newest beltran rumors and his return to health, could you engage a debate? Compare Mike piazza’s career to carlos beltran’s especially as a met.

  3. Garett June 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    Drafted the Dude in march on my fantasy team- knew he had the goods; TC needs to play him
  4. Rapunzel June 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm
    Who is Repunzel?
  5. oseymour June 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    The domestic violence retort wasn’t needed. You made your point without having to bring that in
  6. izzy June 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm
    There is no place anywhere to take domestic violence lightly. You owe a lot of people an apology. Not us, but everyone who was a victim. Not a joke.
  7. Rihanna June 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    Expect trouble soon.
  8. John June 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    Wasn’t Ike Davis given a chance last year after the Mike Jacobs things failed? The reference to domestic violence is moronic.
  9. Kyle Schnitzer June 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm
    Sorry guys for the Chris Brown reference. I was stuck in an office all day and it was either that line or a a simile about a banana. Didn’t think everyone would take it as serious as I thought. Will fix when i get the chance.

    Also, forgot about Ike Davis. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • izzy June 29, 2011 at 9:34 am
      You are a good man Kyle. Not everyone would have written what you just wrote.
  10. Chris Brown June 30, 2011 at 11:43 am
    My man…