Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hope For the Future

I have long complained about the Mets barren farm system and its inability to produce a single solid offensive prospect since David Wright and Jose Reyes hit the scene 6 years ago. I like Ike Davis but feel his maximum potential would make him no better than an average first baseman, which is fine. Josh Thole also has potential to be an above-average catcher, especially if he can start to hit with a little more power.

But I am most hopeful about Lucas Duda. Duda had modest stats in his first three minor league seasons but he followed a natural progression from Brooklyn (low A) to St. Lucie (high A) to Binghamton (AA). It wasn’t until he went to triple A Buffalo that he really broke out. He hit 17 homers in 298 plate appearances, with an OPS of .999.

Lucas Duda provides hope for angry Mets fans

That earned him a promotion to the big club. I speculated that even with an expected drop-off in performance because of the tougher competition, if Duda could have an .825 OPS, he could be a very effective outfielder for the Mets for a very long time.

Note: only 22 outfielders in the majors, fewer than one per team had an OPS above .800 in 2010.

Things started off very badly for Duda. In his first 33 at bats he had only 1 hit (a double) and 4 walks, for an OPS of .196.

But check out what Duda did in his next 51 at bats: 16 hits 5 doubles 4 homers 13 RBI and 2 walks. That works out to .314/.340/.647. That’s an OPS of .987, against major league pitching. Yes it’s only 51 at bats, at the end of the season, all low leverage situations, but it’s something.

Especially when compared to Beltran (.768), Pagan (.765) and Bay (.749). And considering the team OPS was only .697, anything above .800 would be great, would have been good enough for second on the team behind Wright this season.

So if there’s any hope for the future it’s that Wright and Reyes will stay healthy and perform, Bay and Beltran will get healthy and perform, and the young guys like Davis, Thole and Duda will continue to grow. That would be a pretty good top 7, with a lot of ifs, but finally, a little bit of hope.

1 comment:

jleary said...

I don't see that much potential in Duda. I was not impressed with his pitch recognition. the Mets have 2 better outfeild prospects I would rather see playing in the majors F-Mart and Kirk Neihaus (something like that).
With that siad I like some of the young talent in the farms as well. I was actually impressed with tejada at the end of the year. His d was always good, but he looked much better at the plate the last 2 weeks