It’s time to pick Duda or Davis

Over the past month the Mets have looked like a different team. The addition of Eric Young, Jr. provided some life to an otherwise ghastly outfield. The move has been celebrated amongst most of the mainstream media, from Mike Francesca, Boomer and Carton to the Mets blogosphere, including Most of the staff here at Mets360 seem to like the acquisition too. Young coming to the Mets signifies that the team is heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, such is not the case when it comes to Lucas Duda.

The Mets outfield has been at least passable from the second half of June leading into this month, and the old maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should be applied when it comes to putting a terrible defender like Duda — who has a -12.6 UZR this season — into the the outfield. Duda is simply not a viable outfielder; he’s a first baseman that for the past two years that the Mets have tried to pass off as an outfielder. Now that the Mets outfield situation looks better, it’s time to declare two things: (a) Lucas Duda should be a first baseman; and (b) Alderson has to decide between Duda and Ike Davis as the first baseman for years to come.

The decision is a difficult one, because Duda has a mellow offensive profile. He will draw a ton of walks, and he has shown flashes of moderate to high power. However, moving Duda to first base does not mean that all his negative UZR values will go away. He will still be a below-average defender at the position. Eno Sarris noted in an article that players like Adam Dunn and Shawn Green, who have returned to first base after horrible defensive careers in the outfield, have been worth about -5 UZR. So, there is the possibility that Duda could follow this pattern. However, even if Duda’s defensive value improved by that much he would still probably only be worth between one to two wins above replacement.

On the flip side, Alderson has Ike Davis, who is/was a fan favorite. He’s known for his 30 home run potential, and above-average defense. However, he had serious early season struggles last year, and has had a complete inability to be a productive baseball player this year. Davis has struggled a lot, and if it weren’t for the potential he has shown in the past, such as his fantastic rookie campaign in which he put up a WAR of 3.1 or his ability to turn around his awful start to the season last year, he probably wouldn’t have a starting job. The main problem with Davis’s success in the past is that it is keeping Alderson from trading him. There is always the possibility that Davis finds his groove after being traded away, but that’s the risk you run with trading any struggling player.

Two things have been established: Duda should no longer be in left field, and Duda and Davis should not be on the same roster. It’s time for Alderson to decide whether he wants a decent bat with terrible defense in Duda, or a struggling Ike Davis with a chance of him re-discovering his potential.

28 comments for “It’s time to pick Duda or Davis

  1. July 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Well, if you’re going to knock Duda for his UZR, you should probably note that EY Jr’s UZR is almost as bad. Just because he looks more athletic out there doesn’t mean that he actually is. Then again, like Duda, he’s not a natural outfielder.

    And why do you think Duda will be a below average defender at 1B? When he played the majority of his time at 1B in 2011, he had a 1.5 UZR/150 and overall he still has a +1 DRS at his natural position.

    I’m not sure who else was in the study by Sarris but neither Shawn Green nor Adam Dunn were first basemen in the minors like Duda. That’s his normal position. I’m not sure why we should penalize a guy for returning to his normal position.

    The Duda/Davis decision needed to be made following the 2011 season. Hopefully Alderson will put it on his to-do list this offseason.

  2. Metsense
    July 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I was at the game last night and Davis played a horrible game. He looks worse in person then on television. The swing on the 5th inning K really looked bad, worse than apitcher’s swing. He is lost and confused.
    As soon as Duda is ready, he should move into the platoon with Satin. Ike needs more time in Las Vegas or traded to another organization where he will get a fresh start (and probably excel).Meanwhile, Satin needs to get more starts. Ike is hurting the team with his play, and batting him 4th is ludicrous.
    Neither Duda or Davis are cornerstone players and 1B might be a new item on Sandy’s shopping list.

    • Chris F
      July 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Interesting Metsense about the live v TV. Ike has now used every single excuse under the sun from Valley Fever to Hay Fever to explain that basically the anomaly was 2010, and in reality he’s just a lousy hitting, average defending 1B. Agreed, neither are the likely answer at 1B.

      • Metsense
        July 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

        At today’s game, Satin worked the pitcher and battled in each AB. It resulted in a walk to prolong the eventual 1st inning rally, a single in a failed rally,a full count ground out, and a called strike out on a 2-2 count. All looked like quality AB’s, and he made the pitcher work. Ike also was putting together a quality AB in his pinch hitting appearance but killed a potential rally with a DP ball. Ike really does look lost (Saturday) and when he does look good or OK the results are still negative.(Sunday) The Mets would be best to reduce Ike’s playing time. It is very hard to believe the regression and the very real possibility that he will be nontendered.
        PS Chris: that futile swing of the K looked so much worse at the game Saturday than it does on TV where the perspective is only on your screen. I was shocked.

    • Jerry Grote
      July 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      agreed. Neither player is a cornerstone player, but at least it seems clear to me the club has accepted that idea.

      For now that’s a good start.

      I do have fears that Collins remains committed to players truly horrific players. Kirk N is 3 for 21 and 4 for 30 sandwiched around two games. Davis has a 2 for 20 and a 15 for 100 wrapped around a single game.

      You simply cannot put three starting pitchers in the starting lineup.

      • Name
        July 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm

        Since June 15th(the cub series), Kirk is batting .296/.371/.537 with a .908 OPS.

        I know who you would rather see in his place. Lagares, in his best stretch of hitting from June 5th to 21st, batted .326/.326/.457 with a only .783 OPS with a .417 BABIP

        If I cherry-pick Kirk’s best short stretch it would be since July 2nd, where he is hitting .343/.410/.629 with a 1.039 OPS with a .385 BABIP.

        Horrific player?

  3. July 14, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Should of kept Ike in AAA until either the team made a trade at the dealine or September call ups. The Mets need answers for first base and right now Ike has still not shown that he should be the every day first base man for the Mets. Being on the DL has delayed the inevitable but it needs to be addressed this year while the team is still in transition.

  4. Joe Vasile
    July 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    It’s most likely going to be Davis for the next 4-5 years until Domonic Smith is ready unless he continues to play like he has this season, then it’s likely he’s gone and replaced with a stop-gap free agent signing. At this point, it’s hard to imagine either Davis or Duda being a part of the long-term for this team with the way they are currently playing.

  5. Name
    July 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think contract has to be factored into the equation.
    Davis is arb-eligible for the 2nd time will most likely be making at least what he is making this year because it’s rare that a player ever gets a pay reduction. That means he will cost 3-4 mil next year. If the Mets decide to non-tender him i think it’s more likely than not he will try to find a new opportunity.
    Duda still has 1 more year of the minimum before heading into arbitration.

    I think it’s time for Davis to go, and at best we’d get to swap him for another player who also needs a change of scenery, kind of like the McHugh for Young type of trade.

  6. July 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Honestly, at this point I’m more inclined to keep Satin around than either Davis or Duda. He’s getting on base and can play passable defense.
    Davis is a lost cause. I have no clue what happened to the up and coming stud he used to be, but they need to find someone gullible to take him on as a project.

    Duda I could deal with as our first baseman, if we had to. I like the walks, occasional power and easy-going attitude. I don’t like the low average, questionable defense and confidence issues. That said, he definitely could draw something from an AL team looking for a 1B/DH.

    And the best part of trading both Davis and Duda: they haven’t been part of the team that’s winning so we can add new talent to the franchise without destroying the future.

  7. NormE
    July 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Good article, Spencer.
    The choices, Duda-Davis, are not great. Satin has done well in a somewhat small sample.
    I’ve heard that Wilmer Flores has been spending time at 1B at LV. Since the Mets have never
    found a position for him, maybe that’s the answer? I totally agree that Duda and Davis do
    not belong on the same team. It might not be an “either or” proposition. Maybe it’s “neither.”

  8. TexasGusCC
    July 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Wait a second folks, why Duda or Davis? Why not put Flores at first and keep Murphy? For all his brain locks, he’s better than both. Or, keep Flores at first and find a second baseman.

    • TJ
      July 27, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Why are we pretending Murphy is better than Duda? Why the duda hate? he actually was having a good year, good OBP, ISO over .200, he plays okay defense at first. Murphy? really? We are talkinga bout Murphy? with his .310 OBP and us praying his BABIP stays high enough for him to even have value? plus the terrible Defense…

  9. Jerseymet
    July 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Davis or Duda…Why not Lutz or Satin? These two guys are not rally killers. They are cheap and will earn the minimum for the next three years. Davis, Duda and Spin should be traded now for younger prospects.

  10. ed
    July 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    time to move Davis….

    • Je Vito
      July 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Davis sucks duda does not. Bad swing vs God swing

  11. Dan Stack
    July 15, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Man, it’s amazing how some of you of just want to give up on Davis. Let me preface what I’m about to say next is not likely to occur, but do you guys remember how Chris Davis started out with Texas with a bang and then he was wretched (check his 2010 numbers-.571 ops, and -0.5 war) and was shuttled back between the minors and Texas numerous times before finally flourishing for Baltimore last year?
    Again, I’m not saying Ike is Chris Davis, but that power, well you got to try and stay as patient as much as possible.

    • Jerry Grote
      July 15, 2013 at 6:58 am

      Should we honor one fine skill above another?

    • Metsense
      July 15, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Ike Davis will probably be a much better player once he gets a fresh start in a new organization. It is Sandy’s job to find a trade partner to get something back. This cash strapped organization should not tender a 3.5 M unproductive player. Chris Davis flourished in Baltimore not Texas. Unfortunately for Met fans Ike may flourish elsewhere also. Ike has been given many opportunities and he is in the way of Duda or Satin. He is also keeping Dykstra at AA in a trickle down way.I think we have shown great patience with Ike.

  12. ronbo
    July 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Duda at first probably better defensively then him playing left and that’s not saying much as bad as Davis has been he still will play a better game defensively then Duda. The Mets had high hopes for both of these guys to provide the power they needed in the middle of the lineup which has yet to happen. Once Duda comes off the DL where do you play him surely not in the outfield and is he any better then Davis at first surely not defensively Then we have Josh Satin who by far is the most deserving to play on a more regular basis then he currently has been. Davis needs to go back to AAA and spend the rest of the season there to find himself and the Mets are faced with the decision of what to do with Duda if they believe playing him at first is his best position then split the time with him and Satin and see how it works out. Most likely by next spring one or both of these players will not be on the roster

  13. rds900
    July 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Anyone who thinks Duda is the answer simply does not understand the question. If Davis does not recover his ability to be a productive player, the Mets need to look elsewhere. Satin is nothing more than a platoon player and Duda is simply not a very good player at any position.

    • July 15, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Count me as one who thinks Duda is the answer. He’s given everything he’s had to learn a new position in the majors but he’s simply not an outfielder. Put him at first base, leave him alone and watch him put up an .800+ OPS with 25-30 HR.

      • July 15, 2013 at 11:59 am


      • Jerry Grote
        July 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Duda had 571 ABs from 2010-2012 against RHP.
        25 HR 97 RBI .261/.351/.454 808 OPS
        In 2013 his splits became even more pronounced.
        Duda had 159 ABS in 2013 against RHP. If you normalized his numbers to 571 ABs
        32 HR 61 RBI .258/.374/.497 .871 OPS

        His split in his first two years produced a 150 point split, and now its reaching 200 points. I have no issue at all with simply going forward with Lucas Duda as our first basemen, so long as Josh Satin plays against each and every LHP that gets on the mound … and that Satin plays in the late innings of every game.

        I’d love someone to point out a team that committed 625 plate appearances to a #4 hitter that had a 200 point split in his OPS, and was able to continually win. The more pronounced that split becomes, the more of a liability a core player is to the team.

        • July 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

          Perhaps the issue is that Duda’s not a #4 hitter.

          And I think if both Duda and Satin played a full season at first base that the difference in their defensive numbers would be trivial.

          Finally, it’s unknown what, if any, effect playing the OF has had on Duda’s offensive numbers. I recognize it’s a slippery slope when we go into psychological issues with a player but I think we have to at least be open to the possibility that Duda’s offensive numbers will improve when he no longer has the burden of playing out of position in the outfield.

        • July 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

          The 2006-2009 Phillies won an average of 90 games per season with Ryan Howard displaying a .200+ OPS split out of the #4 spot in the lineup. He fell under that mark in 2010 but he had .287-point difference in 2011 and the Phillies won 102 games.

          • Jerry Grote
            July 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm

            LOL. Yeah, Ryan Howard. Of course, the upside was a 1000 OPS, or a 900 OPS. You can certainly live with a guy hitting a 745 OPS for about 140 ABs hitting #4 if he’s gonna deliver a 975 the rest of the way!

            But no … I do think you are right; I have no problem with hitting Duda 4th if he’s splitting his time. I mean, he’s a legit 30 HR/900+ OPS guy against RHP. I just don’t think you can swallow a 600-650 OPS hitting 4th for 25% of the year.

            Hard to tell, like you say, what would happen psychologically with a platoon … and the bigger question would be the guy getting 150 ABs as opposed to the guy getting nearly 500.

  14. frank
    July 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    No question about Young is better than Duda
    Ike stink he will never ever retake his swing
    Suggestion trade both of them for valuable chips
    Satin shows up that he belongs to the Majors With Young batting leads off there are better quemistry

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