Lately there hasn’t been much to get excited about when it comes to the play of the Mets. They continue to be ravaged by injuries and are seemingly dead in the playoff hunt. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to look forward to down the stretch.
Although a lot will happen between now and next April, when it comes to the roster makeup of the New York Mets, the development of Lucas Duda and Josh Thole is making things worth watching as the season winds down.
So, after Reyes (if he is resigned), Davis and Wright, no jobs seem to be guaranteed going into next year as Terry Collins has already attested.
Other roster questions also remain abound.
What will the Mets do at second base? Do they keep Justin Turner around despite him being nothing more than an average player? Do they dare let Murphy go back there? And if not at second, where else do you put Murphy- in left field? If that’s the case, what do you do with Jason Bay and his debilitating contract?
What about Angel Pagan? Some pundits are saying Pagan might be non-tendered this offseason and that these could be his last two months with the Mets. So who then would play center?
General Manager Sandy Alderson has a lot of tough decisions to make on the makeup of the 2012 Mets.
However, with the recent play of Thole and Duda, the decision on their future with the team is becoming less murky by the day as they both looked poised to be everyday starters for the foreseeable future.
Both Duda and Thole have been scorching hot of late and have picked up the slack while the team copes with the injuries to Reyes and Murphy, the lingering effects of the Carlos Beltran trade and the general inconsistencies of Bay and Pagan.
Thole is in the midst of a torrid streak in which he is batting .314 in his last 29 games. Early on while Ronny Paulino was swinging a hot bat, Thole was mired in a miserable slump and sat on the bench as a result. But credit Thole for sticking it out, working hard and forcing his way back into the lineup. With the way Thole is hitting, it might behoove Collins to play him more against lefties to see if he can handle that workload. At the age of 24, it’s obvious Thole is the future at catcher since there seems to be no other promising catchers in the Mets’ system.
While platooning Thole and Paulino to start off the year made sense, it would be a wise idea to start Thole more often to gauge how he can handle lefties. Thus, this will give Thole a better grasp on things heading into 2012.
As for Duda, I have already lauded his improvement before, and since that post he has only gotten better.
Since he was recalled from the minors on June 10, Duda has hit .310 to go along with five home runs and 28 RBI in 166 at-bats.
The maturation that Duda has shown in the last few months has been very encouraging. He seems to be tackling the nuances of the game and will only get better with time. Duda seems to have a cerebral approach at the plate and could offer the team plus-power for years to come.
Now the only concern for Duda is if he can comfortably play right field on an everyday basis. Since Murphy went down with his season-ending injury, Duda has exclusively played first base out of necessity. However, Collins wants to play Duda more in right field to know what he’s playing with. Additionally, there are tentative plans for Duda to play right field in winter ball.
Regardless, outside of any major trades or free agent signings shaking up the team, expect Duda and Thole to be starters and major contributors in 2012. Hence, the next few weeks could be vital in the development of these young two blossoming Mets.