Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is absolutely crushing the ball this season. In a year where some had doubts about his ability to follow up a breakout 2014 campaign, Duda is already beginning to push those doubters aside. However, it's not so much the stats that Duda is putting up, but how he is doing it, and how he got to this point.
Mets hitting coach Kevin Long is leading the Duda bandwagon, as he expects the Mets' first baseman to take the next step this year.
"He is on the verge of absolute stardom, right on the cusp, he has strength and size and ability and aptitude and work ethic. He is hitting lefties and he is going to keep hitting lefties. I think he is close to having no deficiencies."
Duda had one glaring weakness going into this season and that was his inability to hit against lefties. Part of the reason the Mets brought in Michael Cuddyer was to give Duda off days when the Mets were facing left-handed pitching. However, Duda has shown, at least early on this season, that he's starting to figure out lefties, hitting .556 against them, albeit in only ten plate appearances.
Through 13 games against all pitchers, Duda only has just one home run but is batting .347 with 8 RBI and a .947 OPS. He's a threat every time he comes to the plate and has quickly become a fan favorite at Citi Field, and if he can continue to improve against left-handed pitchers, he may well be the special middle-of-the-order hitter the Mets have been looking for.