Now that David Wright is back in the fold as the New York Mets' third baseman for many years to come, there remains a huge question in the borough of Queens: How well will he be protected in New York's lineup in 2013? It's an important question that needs to be answered if the Metropolitans are to succeed this summer.
Now in the prime years of his career, Wright needs assistance from two teammates in particular so he is not pitched around consistently—first baseman Ike Davis and outfielder Lucas Duda. They're two left-handed hitters with excellent power but plagued with inconsistency.
What are the expectations for both Davis and Duda as the Mets gear up for spring training in a few weeks? Let's take a look at what both players bring to the table and how they may perform moving forward:
Ike Davis (1B)
2012 Stats: 32 HR, 90 RBI, .227 avg
It was a Jekyll and Hyde 2012 campaign for the Arizona State product. The Mets' cleanup hitter had to withstand rumors of being sent down to AAA Buffalo early last season—and with very good reason.
Davis was mired in a horrific slump to begin 2012, bottoming out at a feeble .158 average as late as June 9 of last year. He looked terrible at the plate, opening up his hips too quickly and not driving the ball with any authority. Davis had just five HR to his credit and appeared to have lost all his confidence. He looked like a beaten man.
However, Davis finally started to come around in mid-June. As soon as the weather heated up, so did the 6'4", 231-pounder. Finally.
Davis belted six HR and knocked in a season-high 24 runs in June. He hit .264 for the month and appeared on his way to be snapping out of the doldrums.
The Edina, MN, native added a season-high nine home runs in July, including a three-homer outburst against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 28. It was just the ninth time in team history a player belted three round-trippers in a game.
In fact, post All-Star game, Davis smashed 20 HR and batted .255 to keep his final average of.227 well above the dreaded Mendoza Line.
Just 25 years old, Davis is just coming into his prime, and if he can stay healthy, his numbers should keep improving. He'll probably never hit for a high average, but he has tremendous power and has belted some of the longest home runs in CitiField history.
I can see Davis hitting between 35-40 HR this coming season with around 100 RBI. He should settle in at around the .250 mark.
Good times are coming.
Lucas Duda (OF)
2012 Stats: 15 HR, 57 RBI, .239 avg
Any way you slice it, the 2012 season was a very disappointing one for Duda.
Duda was a dud. That about sums it up.
After a promising 2011 campaign in which he hit .292 with 10 HR and 50 RBI in just 301 at-bats, the wheels came unhinged for the Riverside, CA, native in 2012.
Duda actually performed well in the early going last season with a 4/13/.256 line in April followed by a 3-13-.258 performance in May. Things were looking promising.
That promise turned to failure pretty quickly. After hitting four more home runs in June, Duda fell into a woeful slump, batting a meager .138 with one HR and a dismal .200 slugging percentage from June 26 to July 24 . Never a good defensive outfielder, Duda seemed to let his offensive struggles affect his fielding as well.
It was a terrible combination. The Mets demoted him to AAA Buffalo in late July.
Duda was recalled from the minors on August 26, but by that time his season was shot. He batted .239 in September with only two round-trippers. It ended being a season to forget.
The most alarming statistic when you compare Duda's 2011 and 2012 seasons was the rate at which he struck out last season. Duda fanned 120 times in only 401 at-bats. In comparison, he struck out 57 times in 301 at-bats in 2011. That is a real cause for concern.
To make a bad season even worse, in October Duda broke his right wrist moving furniture in South Carolina and had surgery to repair it on Nov. 5, 2012. He is expected to be ready for spring training in a few weeks.
So what can be expected from the 26-year-old outfielder this year? That is very hard to predict. He's moving from right to left field, so that should take some burden away from him, but a lot of his numbers were alarming last season. He does have excellent power, though, and has hit for a high average (.292) before.
I'll say Duda bounces back to some degree and bats .255 with 20 HR and 65 RBI. Not great numbers by any means, but at least he'd be going in the right direction.