2. Lucas Duda (NYM)
2016 stats: .229/.302/.412, seven home runs, 23 RBI’s in 47 games
Last season, Lucas Duda hit .229/.302/.412 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 47 games. He also had a 99.1% fielding percentage with only three errors.
It was almost a toss up between Lucas Duda and Justin Bour, but I choose Duda over Bour for three reasons. The first is that the lineup of the Mets is better than the Marlins and Duda will have more opportunities for success than Bour. The second reason is Duda has much more power than Bour. Duda hit 64 home-runs in the past three seasons while Bour has hit 39 over that time. The last reason is ballpark. New York is much more hitter-friendly than Miami.
Duda is a home-grown Mets player who was drafted in 2007 and have been in the majors since 2010. He can play multiple positions, although entering his age 31 season and a crowded outfield so he will be at first base for 2017.
Duda missed most the 2016 season because of a stress fracture in his back but the Mets decided to tender him a contract for his last year of arbitration. In 2017 he will be in his last guaranteed year with the Mets and earn $7,250,000.
Duda has the ability to change the game with one swing. When he is healthy he slashed around .250/.350/.480 which is extremely impressive with the players he should be hitting behind in New York. He will also hit around 30 home-runs and 80 RBIs.
Since taking over first base from Ike Davis, Duda has not been as injury prone and has played in over 135 games in two of the past three years. Even with his injury filled 2016, his on-base percentage was over .300 and his slugging percentage was over .410.
I expect Duda to be an important part of the offense for the Mets in 2017 as their lineup tries to give run support to that great rotation. His high ceiling and recent success ranks him as the second best first baseman in the NL East.