Based on merit, the following headline doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I’ll give you that. Since his recall from Buffalo, Lucas Duda is only batting a measly .225 with one home run and seven RBI’s. Those are hardly the numbers that scream more playing time.

There is no other way to slice it: Duda’s 2012 season has been a major disappointment. For a guy that finished the 2011 season on fire and began this season amid much fanfare, Duda has failed to deliver on the promise that he showed last year.

In the second half of the 2011 season, Duda hit .322 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI’s in 205 at-bats and there was every reason to think that he would grow on that finish. Thus far in 350 at-bats this year, Duda is sporting a not-so-impressive .243/.332/.389 slash line.

However, for the Mets to truly know what they have in Duda, they need to start playing him on a regular basis and even against lefties.  Just why in the hell should Jason Bay get more playing time at this juncture of the season? And now comes word that Terry Collins will be using Duda more at first base (like he did in Wednesday’s game) to see what he can do there while not being such a liability in the outfield.

Obviously all this jockeying with Duda is for perhaps a possible trade down the line. The Mets would ideally love to move either Duda, Ike Davis  or Daniel Murphy (all players could conceivably play first base) while upgrading the outfield. In this scenario, the Mets could also include a pitcher (say Jon Niese, Colin McHugh, etc.) to sweeten the pot.

Hence, it is very important that Duda get as much playing time as possible down the stretch to either enhance his chances for success with the Mets in 2013 or use this time as a way to showcase himself for a trade.

I still think there is upside in Duda’s game. The guy clearly has power, but sometimes Duda is too passive while not being aggressive at the plate. You also have to realize that Duda is still young and has only 735 major league at-bats to his credit.

I think the jury is still out on Duda. That’s why playing him more in September is both vital for the personal growth of Duda and beneficial for the Mets in knowing what they really have in the young, hulking hitter.

Maybe Duda is not part of the future, but at least use this last month (which has now been rendered meaningless outside of R.A. Dickey’s starts) to know what you have in him before you start making plans for 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

5 comments on “Lucas Duda should get as much playing time as possible down the stretch

  • Peter Hyatt

    Let’s not forget Harvey’s starts for meaningful games! The kid could be 6-2 or even 7-1 if he had serious run support and his ERA is 2.8? now.

    I have been waiting for the NY Post or NY Daily News to call him the 2nd coming of Tom Seaver, with his fastball, sound mechanics and maturity. He has been given a chance to show he belongs and has outshined all other pitchers.

    Duda should get the same. Just play him. As others know, I favor full time over platoon, especially in power hitters, and agree that he should be playing against lefties.

    I just don’t see the “problem” with the Mets being Davis and Murphy. Full time and healthy (perhaps with another team) I see Ike hitting:
    .270 with 35-40 home runs and 90 RBI’s.

    I see Murphy as a .290 doubles hitter, great number 2 hitter, and as a smart, team-style player.

    Our holes are in the outfield, behind the plate, and in the bullpen. Our 2013 starting pitching staff is going to be something special. I think Wheeler makes the team out of Florida.

    I don’t see Duda as a regular Met, but trade bait. Either way, showcased, or allowed to work through his swing, he should be playing full time in September.

    How far away is Feb 20th when pitchers and catchers report?

  • Brian Joura

    Count me as one who thought Duda was going to be very good this year. I still believe in him.

  • Metsense

    Duda this September should be playing everday, including some games at first base.It should be either Duda or Davis at 1B with the other being traded. Duda simply can’t play the outfield. It would be nice to include one of them in a package for a rightfielder, preferably right handed, that puts up above average power numbers 25 HR, 90 RBI, .800 OPS and is above average defensively, and under team control.Ike is the better hitter,(.333/.455/.788 career and 274/365/640 vs lhp) to Duda’s (.338/.429/.767 career and ..282/.338/.621 vs lhp) and the better defender. In order to get the outfielder the Mets would want, Ike will likely be the traded one but the downgrade to Duda at 1b will be made up for in the improved outfield. If Duda should fail to progress as a 1B then the Mets have two prospects in Flores and Rodriquez who may be able to move up in 2-3 years.

  • Mack Ade

    I too would play a lot of Lucas Duda for now until the end of the season.

    I would also play a lot of Mike Baxter, Jason Bay and Jordany Valdespin who will either be backin Queens next spring, or need to be showcased NOW as trade bait.

    Minus any big buck addition, your 2013 OF will be: Bay, Nieuwenhuis, Duda, Baxter, Valdespin


    • Chris F

      When you put it that frank, there is little to be happy with patrolling the green space.

      I would like to throw out a great idea Mestsense had in Chatter some time back: Maybe move Ike into a trade spot for a power hitting OF and slide Duda to 1B. We get Duda to mature into his natural position and develop the power, and a legit OF with some thump. The trading team, which would be flush with OF talent, gets an MLB-ready 1B bopper. I think Metsense had a great idea, and still do.

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