Mets360 2014 projections: Ike Davis and Lucas Duda

Ike Davis has become the most polarizing player on the Mets. Oh, sure, some people get worked up about Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr. but those two simply don’t bring the … baggage that Davis carries with him.

Davis seemed destined to be a fan favorite. A first-round draft pick who advanced quickly through the system, Davis had a strong rookie season at the plate and he excelled in the field. It looked like more of the same when he got off to a strong start in his sophomore season, but then he got injured and missed most of the year. And his career has been all up and down since.

A strong second half in 2012 and it looked like Davis was back on track to be a star player. But then he abandoned the stance that was so successful for him, the one that helped produce a 32-HR season. He got off to another dreadful start at the plate and his body language was horrible. Perhaps things reached their worst point when he refused to field a ground ball. Or maybe he hit rock bottom when he (finally) got sent to the minors.

Davis seemed like a different player when he returned to the majors. At last he was not chasing pitches a foot out of the strike zone. And then whatever momentum he may have been building was derailed when he got hurt again.

For most players, the offseason is a chance for things to calm down. But Davis isn’t most players. It seemed a foregone conclusion that the Mets would deal him but then they didn’t. Then Davis’ dad blasted the team for how it treated his son. It looked like things might change in Spring Training when Terry Collins praised his new swing. But Davis couldn’t stand peace and tranquility and ended up getting in a public dispute with a beat writer. There’s no telling what will happen next in the Davis circus.

Meanwhile, Lucas Duda just carries on. The only time we heard his name was in a positive manner, as he showed up at the team’s fitness camp in Michigan. Sure, Mets management tried to involve Duda in the craziness, suggesting that he’s once again an option in the outfield. But Duda refused to take the bait.

It would be borderline criminal if the Mets tried to make Duda play the outfield again in anything but an emergency basis. There are enough outfielders on the club and let’s face it – Davis would probably be a better outfielder and he may not have played the position since Little League.

No, one of these guys is going to be the first baseman and one’s going to be elsewhere, whether that’s in Las Vegas or in another organization completely. So, what does the future hold for these two first basemen? Let’s start off with Davis:

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs Still Met
Albanesius 550 .240 .340 .430 25 70 yes
Ferguson 450 .235 .407 .327 15 55 no
Flattery 342 .240 .333 .407 12 33 no
Hangley 425 .203 .312 .431 24 83 yes
Joura 417 .225 .310 .410 18 62 no
Koehler 500 .280 .380 .390 20 76 no
Kolton 352 .238 .306 .321 14 56 yes
Manners 500 .235 .335 .430 20 74 yes
McCarthy 578 .233 .341 .411 21 82 no
O’Malley 425 .252 .338 .420 17 62 yes
Parker 425 .225 .320 .410 21 65 yes
Stack 220 .265 .341 .512 8 34 no
Walendin 350 .241 .310 .431 21 54 no

No one thinks he’s going to hit 30 homers this season, although Mike Koehler projects a solid year for him. And there’s no overwhelming consensus if he’ll remain a Met all season, with the votes split as evenly as can be with 13 players. Now let’s look at our projections for Duda:

PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs Still Met
Albanesius 100 .250 .350 .400 6 20 no
Ferguson 485 .255 .452 .357 19 65 yes
Flattery 435 .260 .359 .472 18 59 yes
Hangley 312 .243 .331 .374 8 51 no
Joura 495 .266 .354 .446 21 72 yes
Koehler 385 .220 .340 .415 15 45 yes
Kolton 214 .186 .221 .286 5 23 no
Manners 400 .240 .335 .420 18 66 no
McCarthy 531 .211 .364 .424 19 77 yes
O’Malley 450 .234 .345 .438 18 58 no
Parker 325 .230 .340 .400 15 40 yes
Stack 365 .266 .349 .470 17 61 yes
Walendin 400 .256 .349 .435 16 62 yes

No one thinks Duda’s going to hit 30 homers, either. But more of us expect he’ll finish the year with the club. Of the eight that expect him to finish the season with the Mets, the lowest predicted OPS is the .740 mark offered up by Doug Parker. Half of that group thinks he’ll post an .800 or better OPS, with Sean Flattery’s .831 mark leading the pack.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of our expectations for the two players vying to be the starting first baseman.

DavisDudaStats2014

We expect Davis to have more power but Duda to have the better overall offensive season and be the one to remain with the Mets when all is said and done. Regardless of who wins the job between Davis and Duda, Josh Satin figures to get some ABs versus LHP. Neither Davis nor Duda – even if the other is dealt during Spring Training – figures to get 600 PA in 2014.

It’s time for closure in the Davis-Duda debate. Some of us recognized this back in 2011 and now it’s apparent to everyone. And that makes Sandy Alderson’s job a bit more difficult. So far Alderson has refused to sell either player for pennies on the dollar and it’s hard to see that changing anytime soon. From a distance, it almost seems like a game of chicken with other GMs, who figure that Alderson will either cave and meet their trade demands or possibly place one of the players on waivers.

But that seems unlikely to me. While the Duda to the outfield ploy reeks of gamesmanship, it would surprise few of us if the Mets ended up sending one of the two to Triple-A, as they both have an option remaining. That would be less than ideal but the whole situation has been less than ideal for years now, so what’s a few more months?

Somewhere in the next six months, the Mets’ version of the “Quisp or Quake” debate will finally be over. But unlike in the cereal wars of days gone by, the fans don’t get to vote. Since we think Duda would be the better offensive player based on our projections, in our world Duda is Quisp and Davis is Quake.

Check back Monday for our next entry in the projection series.

21 comments for “Mets360 2014 projections: Ike Davis and Lucas Duda

  1. February 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Who is polarized by Ike Davis? The players? I haven’t heard of players complaining. Fans? As if all fans would not root for him if home runs come off his bat again!

    As to a beat writer stirring the pot…they are looking for headlines and will say anything to grab some attention. Anyone old enough to remember the 70′s knows this.

    If healthy, Ike has a chance to show not only what his growth potential indicated, but that if healthy, he can produce in the major leagues. If healthy, I expect him to have a solid season, similar to what we saw in small increments, including, as referenced, last season after being recalled.

    • February 27, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Players don’t generally complain about other players in public.

      Seemingly half of the fan base wants Ike gone and the other half thinks he’s fully deserving of another year with the Mets. Those two seem polar opposites to me.

  2. Scott Ferguson
    February 27, 2014 at 10:22 am

    My OBP and SLG projections were flipped. I didn’t have Duda or davis having a higher OBP then SLG.
    After clarifying that, I believe Davis will be traded to the Pirates. They seem interested in it only benefits the Mets to trade him now rather than later.

  3. February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

    To be clear, my Davis stats are his stats for the year, not his stats for the year with the Mets. I think he’ll be solid, but I also still think he’ll be traded before Opening Day. And I’ll expect that until the day he heads north with the team.

    • Dan Stack
      February 27, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Yeah and conversely, my stats for Duda and Davis are just with the Mets.

      • February 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm

        My stats were for the whole season, and I still believe Davis gets traded during Spring Training.

  4. amazin
    February 27, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The guy hit 30 homers just two seasons ago. Don’t give up on a guy like that. He deserves another chance and not just in spring training. Give him 200 ABs and then let’s see what is happening.

  5. Doug Parker
    February 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I know you’ve characterized Davis as Quake and Duda as Quisp, but this commercial is 100X more awesome if you imagine Davis as Quisp and Duda as Quake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-sTnm_aPBY

  6. Metsense
    February 27, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Trying to project the inconsistent Ike is a challenge. I don’t see 30 HRs but if he keeps the job that has been handed to him, he better hit enough to be an average NL first baseman. I think he will be traded.
    Duda, if given the chance, will be slightly better offensively than an average NL first baseman. He will also be a .350 OBP player. (NL avg 21 hrs 321/427/768)
    Duda is the forgotten man. He goes to fitness camp and comes back looking better than Tejada and nothing is said. Ike and Wright are inseparable and Duda is the third wheel. That is polarizing enough to me.
    I can easily see the loser of the competition taking the place of the 5th outfielder roster spot as the lefty power bench player.Damn it Sandy, there are enough holes in this team that we don’t need to carry two first baseman with similar skills. Alderson should have made this decision a long time ago when both players had value.

  7. Name
    February 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Is that “Still met” column refering to at the beginning of the year or the end of the year?

    One thing we know about Sandy is that he is damn stubborn. He targets a potential trade target, and won’t take a penny less than what he asks for. Good strategy for when you have a top notch piece in Beltran, Dickey, Byrd. Not so much when you have marginal/flawed assets in Reyes(remember, he got hurt right before the trading deadline)/Ike/Duda. He also has no experience in his Met tenure other than MLB player for minor league prospect deals.

    • February 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      At the end of the year.

      When Alderson’s Mets tenure is over, I really hope he writes a book. I know he can’t answer truthfully now about just about anything. But it would be nice to hear him comment on a bunch of Mets stuff, including the extent of trade talks involving Reyes or if they really thought no one would offer him a big contract.

  8. jmhammer
    February 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Here we go again with Ike. Another sportswriter jumping on the bandwagon to sandbag Ike Davis. Your not reporting Mr. Black , your supporting your buddies by badmouthing Ike over the Mike Puma incident which , by the way, Ike had every reason to be mad over.

    This isn’t a sports article, this is a piece on vindictive crap and you know it.

  9. jmhammer
    February 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Apologies to Mr. Joura. You wrote this crap, mr. Black wrote other crap about Ike. gets confusing with soooo many of you writing about Ike these days !

  10. Chris
    February 28, 2014 at 7:19 am

    You’re pretty hard on my favorite baseball player.
    If Ike hits .275 in April, all can be forgiven.
    I like Duda, but you’re right about the outfield,
    he’s outclassed out there because there’s already
    enough guys there who are swifter. It’s a quandary.
    I say let Duda stay in left, and let Young Jr.
    sit back and wait a little while, and leave Ike on first.
    I like Young Jr. a lot, but I’m for unity and tenure above
    everyone’s perceptions of talent. Everyone can wait their
    turns, except Syndergaard, he’s going to have to come
    up early, like right now.

  11. tommyb
    February 28, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Don’t forget splits – Duda has always hit righties much better than lefties – and Satin would platoon with him (or Brown). I think the two low Duda average projections (.186, .211) on that basis are in fact ridiculously low.

    If Ike is gone, and Duda is platooning at first, he’ll get 425 at bats, hit 20 HR, and .260 or more. He won’t have to stare at an anemic batting average dragged down by at bats vs. lefties – because those at bats will be rare. And so his psyche will strengthen. Success breeds success.

    Most everyone is very negative on Lucas – but let’s see him at 1B with a fresh start – I think he’ll surprise on the up side. Remember, last year, he started with a pressured line up – extreme non-hitting from Cowgill, Davis, and Tejada, among others – this line up at the start of the year should be better – and also, hence, less pressure on Lucas.

  12. Chris
    February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Ike hit a home run. I knew he would, I told my Met fan buddy
    before the game, I called it. Thank goodness, he’d have had trouble
    sleeping tonight. A little pressure release…..

  13. BigD
    February 28, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I think you are all wrong about the Ike vs Duda debate. Duda is a very passive player, he is not aggressive enough at the plate & he is not a good fielder at any position, Ike meanwhile is a better than average fielder & I believe his hitting will make a 360 this year.

    • Name
      February 28, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      I find there’s a lot of I think, i believe, I know he’ll turn it around with Ike. As in, personal opinion with little to no evidence to back it up.

      It’s fine to have your own opinion but don’t tell others they are wrong.

  14. Chris
    March 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Well Tommy B, above, certainly engages in relevant facts
    and not opinion. Really make’s you think. They’re the big
    Mets, big guys. I don’t want to see any of them gone,
    the big three, with Murphy. I was sorry to see Buck go,
    he made it the big four.

    • March 1, 2014 at 8:35 am

      John Buck got off to a great start with the Mets, a wonderful first two weeks. But from the second game of the DH on April 16th until he was traded, Buck hit .198 and had a .591 OPS. He way terrible. Getting rid of him was a great thing all by itself. But that he was part of the package that brought in Vic Black and Dilson Herrera is so much the better. I wish Buck nothing but the best in the future. But I am beyond thrilled that he’ll no longer be dragging the Mets down.

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