Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lucas Duda will have to play a big part of Mets Success in 2012


LUCAS DUDA'S STATS

GPABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPS
2011 Regular Season10030138882131050335710.292.370.482.852
Career129385491052731463397910.273.347.468.815


Lucas Duda spent last season in an increasingly more important role. The outfielder was promoted from the minors and flourished, moving into the cleanup spot in the batting order as his new Mets teammates went down with injuries and struggled.

But like just about everyone else on the Mets, Duda was struck down by injury, too. He suffered a concussion when he ran into the wall in St. Louis on Sept. 21, sitting out the final week of the season.

Duda was at Citi Field for a Mets press conference, joining David Wright and Ike Davis as the models for the team's 2012 uniforms. And if he was the face of the franchise that day, he might be on the field, too.

With the Mets facing the possibility of losing shortstop Jose Reyes, they need Wright, Davis and Duda all to return from injuries and carry the offense. Duda might be the least accomplished of the trio, but he did hit well last year after a slow start, batting .292 with an .852 OPS and 10 homers and 50 RBI in 100 games.

"I think just the opportunity is key," Duda said. "For me, nothing is written in stone. I've got to work my butt off. All you can really ask for is the opportunity. They gave it to me. Hopefully I can take it."

Duda should be helped out by the Mets' decision to move in the fences at Citi Field. While he hit his homers, like Davis, deep enough that the right-field wall might not have been a problem, his ability to hit to the opposite field will likely allow him to keep his swing intact and hit more homers.

He also noted that with his limited speed, the fences moving in could help him as much defensively as offensively.

"We're going to be counting on those guys pretty heavily next year," Wright said of Duda and Davis. "Both those guys [are] big left-handed bats that are going to be middle-of-the-order type guys. We're going to need them healthy in order to accomplish what we're going to want to accomplish."
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