The secret is out, Lucas Duda is good.
And while that is good news for the Mets, sometimes it’s best for some things to be kept a secret.
After blowing up in the second half of last year while batting .322 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI’s in 205 at-bats, a lot more is expected out of Duda this year. His power potential is tickling the fancy of many Mets’ fans in need of some good news. Reports out of Port St. Lucie is that Duda is launching some bombs in batting practice and he already has a grand slam to his credit this spring.
Because his legend is growing this spring, Duda won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this season. While, of course, this means little in the whole scope of things, I fear too much hype may get to Duda’s head. ( I know, I know, I could very well be overreacting.)
While Duda’s offensive potential will be on full blast this year, the same can’t be said about his defense. If there is one thing Duda has to prove this year is that he can hold up for a full year manning right field. Hopefully, Duda’s quest to make himself a complete ballplayer will keep him humble and driven all year.
The good news is that there should be hardly any pressure on Duda this year. With the fences being altered at Citi Field, more pressure will be on veterans David Wright and Jason Bay to make up for lost time and carry the load. Ike Davis also has to prove he is healthy (and getting over valley fever) and get back to what he was last year: an emerging slugger in the middle of the lineup.
The burden for Duda to live up to some of the promised being heaped on him could get dicey but at least he’ll have the comfort of likely batting sixth in the order where he’ll make way for the veterans.
Duda has to just go out and do his thing while making the natural progressions in his game. He has to let the game come to him. Although it would be nice if Duda could be our secret weapon, I would be more than thrilled if the results match the hype.
Duda is earning himself a lot of fans (and you can call me one too) this spring and the bar has been raised for him to exceed expectations. Here’s to hoping Duda makes good on his promise.
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