Posts Tagged ‘Lucas Duda’

 

By Steven Inmanlucasdudatravisdarnaud2kkhqgxhhwhm

As Met fans, tell me if you’ve heard this before, the Mets ability to score runs consistently, will come down to the success of Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud. The major league careers to date for both players have been roller coasters, with 2016 being hopefully closest to the low point. Both hitters battled injuries and ineffectiveness all of last season to the point where they lost their starting jobs to inferior offensive players, at a time when the Mets really needed more offense. It’s no coincidence that both Duda and d’Arnaud combined for 11 homers, 38 RBI and less than 100 hits while the Mets finished just 25th in runs last season. The two had their best seasons offensively in 2015 where the Mets finished middle of the pack in runs. For the most part, health permitting, the Mets have an idea of what they’re going to get out of Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker. Duda and d’Arnaud when they’re swinging the bats well lengthen the lineup and allow those middle of the order hitters to possibly see an extra plate appearance a game with guys on base.

There isn’t a ton of stability in this Met lineup. Curtis Granderson is getting up there in age, Michael Conforto likely doesn’t have everyday plate appearances after the Mets completely botched the Jay Bruce situation and we all know the issues David Wright is going through to stay healthy. After the poor offensive season this group had as a whole, combined with all the question marks going into 2017, make Duda and d’Arnaud the Mets biggest x-factors offensively in ’17.

Besides the Mets need for these two to perform, 2017 is a HUGE year for both players.

Lucas Duda is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season and the free agent market has recently evolved into one that doesn’t reward all or nothing power hitters. Chris Carter, who tied for the NL lead in homers last season with 42, was non-tendered months ago and now can’t find an everyday job. The same goes for clubhouse favorite Mike Napoli. The Mets can’t even trade slugger Jay Bruce without eating some of his $13M remaining on his contract. Teams don’t value these  less athletic, non-versatile players anymore despite their enormous power. For Lucas Duda to find an everyday job in 2018 and beyond he is going to need to have a career year and show that he is more than just a power threat when healthy. The Mets have top prospects Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith getting closer and closer to the Mets 1st base job so the writing is on the wall for a Duda departure, especially after he turned down a contract extension a few seasons ago. Duda slashed just .229/.302/.412 a season ago but he has put up healthy OBP’s with impressive power numbers in the past. While the Mets need Duda to perform in 2017, he needs a big year even more.

Like Duda, Travis d’Arnaud also badly needs a breakout season. The former top prospect has never been able to stay healthy at the major or minor league level. The backstop has struggled defensively and has shown he is unable to throw out runners to date. There are plenty of offensive minded catchers in the game and there is nothing wrong with that but d’Arnaud hit just .247/.307/.323 last season after a strong 2015. Even when d’Arnaud was healthy he lost at-bats to backup Rene Rivera, who the pitchers preferred to throw to. The two catchers offensive potentials are vastly different but the Mets didn’t seem to regret Rivera taking over for d’Arnaud down the stretch, which is terrifying considering Rivera is a career .213/.264/.332 hitter across 8 major league seasons. It seems as if the Mets are willing to give d’Arnaud another chance as the Mets starting catcher but it would surprise no one if this was his last chance. It’s no secret the Mets were interested in Jonathan Lucroy last summer and were willing to include d’Arnaud in a deal for him. Travis d’Arnaud’s upside is still of an elite offensive catcher (albeit with defensive issues) but the catcher will never be able to show off those skills if he doesn’t stay healthy this year. The Mets are a better and deeper team when d’Arnaud is hitting. Whether or not you believe in RBI as a legit stat, the Mets were 8-2 in ’16 when d’Arnaud drove in a run. The Mets are going to need d’Arnaud to drive in a run (or runs) in more than 10 games if they want to be a decent offensive club.

It’s pretty clear to any baseball fan that the New York Mets will rely heavily on their pitching in 2017 but without Duda and d’Arnaud contributing to this offense the Mets will remain an unbalanced team that will continue to be forced to search for offensive help.

By Steven Inman

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Photo from NY Post

 

On Monday, Lucas Duda was placed on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his back. Duda wasn’t hitting much recently but the Mets offense could use all the help it could get. Only the Braves and the Padres have scored less runs than the Mets (73 runs) in May.

Duda is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. David Wright had the same injury a few seasons ago and winded up missing a little over 2 months. The Mets are going to have to find some offense at first base. While the trade market hasn’t fully developed yet the Mets do have a few alternatives to Duda. Here are some of their options.

David Wright: With David Wright’s recent throwing issues this could make some sense. It seems inevitable at some point now that David Wright will eventually wind up at first base before his contract is up but the captain has struggled with preparation before games due to his well documented back problems. Adding a new wrinkle like learning a new position after 13 years in the majors might be too much for the veteran to handle right now. Plus then the Mets would have to find someone capable of playing third base every day.

Wright could be an option long-term for the Mets at first base, just not now.

Michael Conforto: At this point, this seems to be Terry Collins preferred option. It would present an opportunity to free Juan Lagares to roam center field every day again and allow Yoenis Cespedes to move back to left field while keeping Conforto’s bat in the lineup. Other than Cespedes, Conforto has been the Mets most consistent bat all season, so making him learn a brand new position doesn’t make a ton of sense either. Conforto, 23, has played a very solid left field for the Mets to start the season. The Mets should leave Conforto alone and let him continue to get better in left field.

Wilmer Flores: Wilmer is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday and he should get the first look at playing first everyday with Duda out. Flores has badly struggled this season adjusting to a bench role. If Flores hits the way he did last season, expect him to be the everyday first basemen until Duda is ready to return. The Mets likely won’t consider outside options unless Flores fails to hit as the first basemen.

Eric Campbell: While Campbell has proven to be a very versatile player for the Mets, he hasn’t hit at all since his rookie season, with a career slash line of .227/.316/.320. Campbell has played first in all five games since Duda went down. The Mets can and should do better here.

Ty Kelly: Mike Puma of the NY Post called Kelly “Campbell with more speed” on twitter. If that’s truly the case, not sure why the Mets would want another Eric Campbell on the roster. While the switch hitter raked in Las Vegas, Kelly will probably not be in the first base competition unless he can impress coming off the bench for now.

James Loney: The veteran first basemen is currently in Triple-A in the Padres system. He is a solid defensive first basemen who has 10 years of big league experience under his belt with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Rays. The lefty bat has been playing some right field as a way to become more versatile for a big league team. Loney has never been a big power hitter but he has always hit for a high average. Loney has an opt-out that would allow him to leave El Paso if a club was willing to put him on their big league roster. Loney is a perfect fit for the Mets, as he hits for a high average, especially against right-handers. He has hit .340/.372/.425 in 41 games in the Pacific Coast League this season. Plus Loney’s contact skills could work well off the bench as a pinch hitter once Duda returns. The Mets would only need to pay the prorated version of the league minimum since the Rays are still on the hook for Loney’s $9.66 million 2016 salary.

Juan Uribe: While Uribe didn’t hit well for the Mets when he came to New York last season, the Mets seemed to take off when he and Kelly Johnson were traded to Queens from Atlanta. Uribe hasn’t hit much with the Indians (.237/.305/.342) but he is a versatile player who could play some first along with filling in for David Wright at third. Uribe is only making $4M this season so he could be an option for the Mets but the Indians are unlikely to sell off a clubhouse leader while they are in the race.

Dom Smith: Many think that Dominic Smith is the heir apparent to Lucas Duda at first base. The lefty bat was the Mets first round pick back in 2013. Coincidentally some scouts believe Smith is a very similar player to Loney. Smith, 20, has hit solidly in 44 Double-A games but likely isn’t ready for the big leagues. Smith isn’t an option to fill the Mets first base hole right now.

Who should get the first crack at the Mets first base gig?

By Steven Inman

With less than 2 weeks before Opening Day, the Mets Opening Day roster is pretty much set. The only questions left are with a few injuries along with spots on the bench and the bullpen still to be determined. Here’s how we expect it to all shake out.

The Starting Rotationdownload

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Bartolo Colon
  5. Steven Matz

Matt Harvey has already been named the Mets opening night starter in Kansas City. After a strong 2015 season along with a brilliant performance in WS Game 5 against KC, Harvey has certainly earned the honor of starting opening night.  Jacob deGrom’s wife is expected to give birth around April 5th so Noah Syndergaard will start the second game. If deGrom is back from his expected paternity leave he will likely start Game 3 with 3rd year Met Bartolo Colon and rookie Steven Matz behind him in the rotation.

The Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson RFdownload (1)
  2. Neil Walker 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. David Wright 3B
  6. Michael Conforto LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) is questionable for Opening Day. It is unknown if he will get the at-bats needed this spring to be able to be ready for the season. The Mets seem to believe that he will be ready so we will put him in the starting lineup for now. After releasing Ruben Tejada the Mets don’t have much shortstop depth with major league experience.

If Cabrera is not ready Wilmer Flores will likely step in to the starting lineup at shortstop. The Mets will need Wilmer to play third base a few days a week for the aging David Wright. This could be a very big year for the Mets two youngest starting position players, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto.

The Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familiadownload (2)
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Antonio Bastardo
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Hansel Robles
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Jim Henderson

Terry Collins said a few weeks ago that the first five on this lists already had spots cemented in the Opening Day bullpen. Hansel Robles will be suspended for the KC series but the Mets will not be able to replace him on the roster while he is out. Gilmartin was very solid last year as a long man for the Mets after coming over from the Twins as a Rule 5 pick. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, has regained velocity and looks very sharp this spring. While the Mets can send Henderson to the minors, he has looked very solid and if the Mets believe he can go back to being the reliever he was when he pitched the 9th for Milwaukee, then he certainly would be a fine addition to the Mets bullpen. Other candidates are Erik Goeddel who has been injured most of the spring and Logan Verrett who is likely competing with Gilmartin for the Mets long man role.

The Bench

  1. Wilmer Floresdownload (3)
  2. Juan Lagares
  3. Alejandro De Aza
  4. Kevin Plawecki
  5. Eric Campbell

Thanks to additions to the Mets starting lineup, players that were expected to get major at-bats like De Aza and Flores now become solid and versatile bench players. Flores will help Wright at third and will back up at short and second. Neil Walker didn’t hit lefties much last season so Flores could get at-bats at second vs. lefties. Expect Flores to play a lot this season even though he isn’t an “everyday player” anymore.

While Juan Lagares is a very good center fielder expect him to play some left field as a defensive replacement for Conforto. Terry Collins is wary of moving Cespedes all around the outfield so Lagares may not play much center field while Yoenis is in the game.

The Mets were interested in finding a backup catcher so Kevin Plawecki wouldn’t be sitting on the bench so often but they haven’t found a player they like yet so Kevin stays on this list. The Mets believe an extra 200 plate appearances for Plawecki in the minors would really help his development offensively. Thanks to the trade of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell makes the club as the 25th man. Campbell has struggled in the majors the past few seasons but has had a strong spring and can play the infield and outfield corners. A majority of Terry Collins’ bench can play multiple positions.

With two weeks to go still before the season, injuries can alter this list. On paper this is a very strong roster that should have Citi Field buzzing all summer. Do you agree with this 25-man roster projection?

By Steven InmanCapture

The Mets roller coaster 2015 season has now come to an end. This may be the Mets most memorable year since 1986. A season that started with an early 11-game winning streak, followed with months of offensive ineptitude, a pair of sensational rookie starting pitchers finding their footing in the bigs, a trade that wasn’t, a trade that was, a strong summer overtaking the division favorite Nationals followed by a magical playoff run. The ride ended on a somber note Sunday when the Royals came back late in Game 5 to defeat the Mets and win the World Series 4 games to 1.

It was a tough ending to a great season but the Mets have plenty to be proud of. The Mets hadn’t been over .500 in 6 straight seasons and somehow found themselves in the World Series.

The weaknesses (infield defense, bullpen) we discussed last March somehow didn’t seem to impact the Mets much in the regular season or even in the first two rounds of the playoffs but New York was really exposed defensively by the Royals put the ball in play approach.

The Royals were 7 of 7 stealing bases off Travis d’Arnaud in the World Series and key errors by Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Lucas Duda really seemed to open the door in three Royals wins. The Mets were simply a bad matchup with the Royals because of the Royals strengths but the World Series would still be going on if the Mets weren’t so sloppy defensively. Looking back on it, the Mets long layoff after the NLCS obviously didn’t help the Mets sleeping offense.

Despite all that this season is a major step forward for the New York Mets. Back in July we were all on “Terry Watch”  waiting to see if Collins would be fired if the team continued to slump offensively. We wondered when Sandy Alderson would finally make a bold move to acquire a hitter. Three months later thanks to those bold moves the offense got hot and New York finally got to see what the Mets Big 4 pitchers could do on the big stage as the Mets won their 5th pennant in franchise history.

The Mets Big 4 pitchers all are under club control for the next few seasons and the Amazin’s will get a full season of Michael Conforto next year so there is no reason to think Terry Collins’ club can’t make another World Series run next season. A lot depends on what Alderson and company do this winter but the Mets should be NL East favorites next season. With the added playoff revenue perhaps the Mets will be able to acquire a bat or two to replace Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy as they hit free agency.

By Steven Inman

The 2015 season is finally here. Barring some sort of bizarre injury, here is your 2015 Mets Opening Day roster.

Starting pitchers: 

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

1. Bartolo Colon

 2. Jacob deGrom

 3. Matt Harvey

 4. Jonathon Niese 

5. Dillon Gee

This is the order the Mets will go the first couple times through the rotation. The team will start arguably their worst starter on Opening Day in Colon. There are probably many reasons for this but the most public one at the moment is that way Harvey doesn’t start the home opener and will start the second Citi Field game which the Mets believe will maximize ticket sales. This is a clueless, idiotic way to run a franchise IF true, but hey its Opening Day so we won’t harp on the negatives today.

Relievers: 

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

6. Jenrry Mejia

7. Jeurys Familia 

8. Carlos Torres

9. Jerry Blevins

10. Alex Torres

11. Rafael Montero

12. Sean Gilmartin

13. Buddy Carlyle

Sean Gilmartin pitched well as Spring Training came to a close and will not be offered back to the Twins just yet, If he can make it all season on the Mets roster or DL he will become Mets property. The Mets didn’t want to lose Buddy Carlyle either who had an opt-out date coming up so the club elected to keep him and go with 8 relievers, Bobby Parnell and Vic Black will start the year on the DL but both should be ready to contribute at some point in the first half with Black likely ready soon. 

Starting Position Players: 

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

14. Travis d’Arnaud

15. Lucas Duda

16. Daniel Murphy

17.  David Wright

18.  Wilmer Flores

19.  Michael Cuddyer

20.  Juan Lagares 

21. Curtis Granderson

After much debate Daniel Murphy will in fact be ready for Opening Day and will meet his teammates in Washington for Monday’s opener. Terry Collins is planning on moving Murphy down in the order to get him more RBI opportunities but he is probably better off in his usual #2 spot in my opinion. 

Bench: 

22. Anthony Recker

23.  Ruben Tejada

24.  John Mayberry Jr

25. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

With the Mets carrying 8 relievers, they will go with a 4-man bench to start the season. Eric Campbell would have been the 5th man on the bench but was optioned to Vegas instead. Campbell even worked on catching this spring to make himself even more versatile. A four man bench isn’t the Mets brightest idea but it likely won’t stay like this for more than a few weeks. Collins would use Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter should he use the rest of his bench first. 

 

Should be a fun season and Lets Go Mets!

By Steven InmanimagesCANTDGDW

According to various media reports, the Mets have discussed a contract extension with 1B Lucas Duda. Duda, 29, hit .253 with 30 homers and 92 RBI in his 2014 breakout campaign. Talks are still considered to be in the “preliminary stage”.

Duda as a Super Two player is already making $4.2 million this upcoming season but won’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season. If the Mets truly believe that Duda can replicate his 2014 season then a four-year extension worth around $30 million could make a lot of sense. There really isn’t a great comparision for Duda so its all really just guessing on what Duda’s contract could look like.

It will be interesting to see what the final numbers of this contract look like should it get done but any extension for the Mets first basemen would likely begin after this season as the Mets have a very tight budget remaining as we get closer to the games at Citi Field.

It’s encouraging that the Mets believe they have the financial flexibility to keep their core players going forward. That may not have been the case a couple years back. Duda’s agent made it clear that he doesn’t want to negotiate a contract in season so if this doesn’t get done now, it won’t get done during the 2015 season.

Do you think the Mets should give Duda a contract extension???

By Steven Inman 

If things go well for the Mets in '15, expect Collins to be one of the favorites for NL Manager of the Year Photo by CBS NY

If things go well for the Mets in ’15, expect Collins to be one of the favorites for NL Manager of the Year
Photo by CBS NY

The 2015 Mets are chomping at the bit to get the regular season started. They are confident and aren’t prepared to just concede the N.L. East title to the Washington Nationals like most “experts”. On paper, thanks to this pitching staff and a rejuvenated David Wright, this could be the best Met team since 2008, which happens to be the franchise’s last winning season,
The depth on this team is truly the difference maker. If a key player goes down to injury the team now has a young player with upside able to fill in at many positions instead of having to dip down in Vegas to find a 30-year old “quadruple-A” player like in previous seasons.
The starting rotation will be this clubs strength but it will be very intriguing to see how Terry Collins handles it. The entire coaching staff will have to be ultra creative in stretching Matt Harvey’s 150-160 innings across the entire season. The team originally planned on Harvey skipping the first week and starting the home opener, but that plan has been scrapped.
Zack Wheeler remains a work in progress and can come undone quickly so the coaching staff will have their work cut out for them. This young right-hander must learn how to get batters out on fewer pitches or he isn’t going to be able to go deep in games often. Along with that the team will have to decide if Dillon Gee should enter the rotation should Bartolo Colon struggle early in April.
The growth of these young pitchers will be how I judge Terry Collins and Dan Warthen in 2015.
The Mets lineup is pretty set except for the fact that the team plans on using Lucas Duda everyday, even against lefties. That would be a huge mistake as Duda hit .180 in 125 plate appearances in 2014 vs. LHP and is a .212 career hitter against southpaws in five big league seasons. Duda would be much more effective strictly against RHP. Plus the Mets have a huge weapon on their bench against left-handers in John Mayberry Jr., who has crushed lefties throughout his career before last year, when he struggled against all pitchers. How Collins handles Mayberry Jr. will be one of the more underrated elements to this Met season.
Lastly this Met bullpen will be the best Terry Collins has had in New York as he enters his fifth season as Met manager. The one concern he may have is that he only has one left-hander in his ‘pen. If Josh Edgin struggles this bullpen could become a problem. The key for Edgin is keeping his velocity up. Edgin averages 93 mph on his fastball and he doesn’t have the stuff to get left-handed bats out should that drop even a tick like it did last spring.

Whether you like it or not, Josh Edgin enters camp as arguably the most important Met reliever in 2015

Whether you like it or not, Josh Edgin enters camp as arguably the most important Met reliever in 2015

This team clearly has more talent than in years past. While Alderson didn’t do much over the winter (or any winter as Mets GM), sometimes the best move is the one you don’t make. Alderson and his staff look very wise to have hung on to all of their young pitching over the last few seasons although it would have been nice if he added another left-handed reliever.
To me, this team looks like a playoff contender that will likely fall short of the postseason in the end thanks to a poor defense and an inability to add that one key bat they likely will need at the trade deadline. This team will finish with 84 wins and will play meaningful games down the stretch. The Mets have a very bright future.
How many wins will the Mets have in 2015?