Lucas Duda has had a rough time at the plate as of late. After a hot start, the 29-year-old first baseman is batting just .111/.200/.259 with two home runs and five RBI in July and is striking out at an alarming rate. Duda is tied for fourth in the National League with 96 strikeouts, putting him on pace to set a dubious franchise record.
If he continues to strike out at his current pace, Duda will set the Mets' single-season record for most strikeouts, last set by David Wright, who struck out 161 times in 2010. Before that, the record was 156, originally set by Tommie Agee in 1970 and later tied by Dave Kingman in 1982. Duda is currently on pace to strike out 169 times, so he could eventually hold this record by a considerable margin.
Although Duda has always been strikeout-prone, his whiff rate has gone up considerably as the season has gone on. After striking out in just 18.2 percent of his April plate appearances, Duda struck out in 27.1 percent of May plate appearances, 24.7 percent of June plate appearances, and a whopping 40.6 percent of July plate appearances so far. Over the entire season, he has gone down on strikes in 27.8 percent of all of his plate appearance.
Although strikeouts are somewhat expected for power-hitting first baseman, Duda has hardly hit for power as of late, as he has just three home runs since May 30. His extended slump has undoubtedly hurt the Mets, who have scored the fewest runs of any National League team. Without Duda's once-effective bat, which exploded for 30 home runs last season, the Mets have been unable to score runs and win some close games.
Despite Duda's nearly two-month-long slump, it is unlikely that he will see the bench anytime soon, as the Mets do not have any other viable alternatives in the organization. The club has no real threats on their bench and career minor leaguer Brandon Allen, the starting first baseman in Triple-A, has hit just .203/.290/.375 in 116 career major league games. The Mets likely have no choice but to keep running Duda out there, hoping he can regain the form that made him a 30-home-run hitter last year, even if it means setting the team strikeout record in the process.