According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets first baseman Lucas Duda will not be playing winter ball in the coming months. Duda gave some thought to the idea of playing this winter in Venezuela, but has opted not to.
Duda’s 2013 season was interrupted by both injury and poor play. He spent a significant chunk of the year playing for Triple-A Las Vegas, but was thrust back into a full time role with the Mets when Ike Davis suffered a season ending oblique injury late in the campaign.
After replacing Davis at first base, Duda showed that he could adequately handle the position. He was both sure-handed and aggressive around the bag, something that certainly can’t be said for left field – a position Duda never should’ve been asked to play.
Offensively, Duda had a triple slash of .223/.352./.415 in 384 plate appearances spanning 100 games this season for the Mets. He hit 15 home runs and drove in 33. A sign that Duda may have been the beneficiary of some bad luck, is the fact that his BABIP (.276) was the 2nd lowest it’s ever been (between both the minors and the majors).
Who will play first base for the Mets in 2014 is an open question, but it’s expected that one of Ike Davis or Lucas Duda will serve as part of a platoon with Josh Satin, or perhaps Wilmer Flores in the event the Mets don’t add someone from outside the organization.
Sandy Alderson favors players who get on base at a solid clip, and that’s a skill Duda has. However, Duda struck out an uncharacteristically high 26.6 percent of the time in 2013 – something he has to greatly improve upon if he wants to be a piece for the Mets going forward.
There are people who will slam Duda for not playing winter ball, but no one knows what went into his decision. If Duda addresses it, we can react one way or the other.