2015 Highlights: Lucas Duda, power hitting first baseman for the New York Mets, had an up and down season in year 2015. Duda batted only .244 for the season. Despite the low batting average Duda managed to achieve an on base percentage of .352 and due largely to his slugging of 27 homeruns in only 441 at bats, a respectable slugging percentage of .486.
Contract Situation: Duda and the Mets avoided salary arbitration by recently agreeing on a 1 year contract of $6.725 million. Duda will be once again be eligible for salary arbitration in connection with the year 2017 season, after which Lucas will become a free agent.
Tradeable or Untradeable: Duda is clearly a tradeable player. There are many teams that would love to have an established power hitting first baseman, under team control for two more seasons, who provides adequate defense at first base. However, with the Mets contending for the Eastern Division title and with dreams of a World Championship banner flying over Citifield in the next few years, it is hard to envision any scenario in which it would be in the Mets best interests to trade “The Dude”.
2016 Outlook: The only thing that is certain about Duda’s year 2016 performance is that it is uncertain. Lucas has shown tremendous upside over the last two seasons, but unfortunately he has also shown tremendous inconsistency. On more than one occasion it has appeared that Lucas has turned a corner by demonstrating the ability to carry a team with his power bat. During one memorable seven game stretch in July 2015, Lucas belted out 8 home runs. Alas, the power surge proved more illusory than real, as Lucas followed his memorable hot streak with yet another prolonged batting slump.
The Mets will surely use year 2016 and also possibly year 2017 to determine who the real Lucas Duda is. Is he the clean-up hitter that broke the National League Championship series against the Cubs wide open with his hot bat? Or is he the hitter who seems lost and confused at the plate for long stretches?
The paradox that is Lucas Duda. Remarkably inconsistent within each of the last two seasons, but remarkably consistent when his year-to year stats are examined.
Year 2014 -- .253 batting average, 349 on base percentage, .481 slugging percentage.
Year 2015 -- .244 batting average, 352 on base percentage, .486 slugging percentage.
So perhaps Lucas is neither the breakout candidate that we wish for, nor the confused automatic out that he sometimes appears to be. Perhaps he is just Lucas Duda who is consistently inconsistent.