- Full name Lucas Christopher Duda
- Born 02/03/1986 in Riverside, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 255 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Southern California
- Debut 09/01/2010
Drafted in the 7th round (243rd overall) by the New York Mets in 2007 (signed for $85,000).
View Draft ReportDuda, highly regarded out of high school, remained a dud as a college hitter, batting a career .275 and just .278 this spring with a team-high six homers.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Duda went from afterthought to September callup last season, more than doubling his previous career high for homers and winning the Mets' minor league player of the year award. He recovered from a 1-for-33 start in New York to bat .314 with nine extra-base hits in his final 17 big league games. Duda always made hard contact and showed a discerning batting eye, but he began hitting more homers last season by better identifying pitches on the inner half that he could loft out of the park. He also can drive the ball to the opposite field for doubles. He doesn't strike out much for a player with his raw strength and power, and though he lacks elite bat speed, his tools suggest he could hit .275 with 15-20 homers annually. Duda's best defensive position is first base because he's a poor, lumbering runner with below-average range and arm strength in left field. With Ike Davis entrenched at first base in New York, Duda must hit to stay in the picture for playing time on an outfield corner. The presence of Jason Bay could force Duda to Triple-A to start the year. If he hits, the Mets will make room, either in right field or as a bat off the bench.
One of the better power prospects in the Mets system, Duda has a big frame, strength and a long swing that delivers plenty of power when he connects. He entered 2009 primarily hitting to the opposite field, but he learned to pull homers out of the ballpark. He has a solid eye at the plate, but as the season went along he wasn't as selective as he had been in the past. Pushed to left field at Double-A Binghamton when Ike Davis came up from high Class A St. Lucie and took over first base, Duda is a poor outfielder with little range or arm strength. He had Tommy John surgery while in college at Southern California. He's merely adequate at first base, and his bat will have to carry him. He's a below-average runner as well. He missed the final four weeks of the regular season with a strained knee, then hurt his right wrist two games into an Arizona Fall League stint. With Davis and Nick Evans likely ticketed for Triple-A Buffalo to open 2010, Duda may have to return to Binghamton to start the season.
Duda shows well above-average power in batting practice and in his 2007 debut, when he hit 20 doubles at short-season Brooklyn, but it didn't translate into games in 2008, when the Mets jumped him to high Class A. The first baseman is considered to have a long swing and misses too many pitches. Still, his power displays in BP will buy him time, even if he ultimately stalls at Triple-A. In some ways Duda is similar to Ike Davis, as both pitched and hit as prep players. Duda had Tommy John surgery and just hit at Southern California, but both are capable first basemen who could play in the outfield. Another difference is that Davis showed significant improvement as a college junior by better incorporating his lower half into his swing. Last season, Duda fell into a rut of only using his upper body, which the Mets sought to correct when he participated in instructional league. Duda has good strength but hits a lot of balls to the big parts of the field, which the Mets also sought to address. Primarily a first baseman with the Mets with average fielding skills at best, Duda also saw action in seven games in right field and two games in left field in 2008. Duda does not have much speed. His progression should take him to Double-A to open the season.
Duda ranked among the top power hitters in the prep class of 2004 after putting on a show at the 2003 Area Code Games. He also touched 90 mph as a pitcher and was expected to be a two-way impact player at Southern California. That Duda never materialized, however, as he never hit for much power and never pitched in college (in part because he had Tommy John surgery in high school). After slugging just .410 in three seasons for the Trojans, he took off after signing in June for $85,000. His 20 doubles for Brooklyn matched the total of his three college seasons. Duda trimmed up his body and while he still drew walks, he was more aggressive as a pro and his above-average raw power potential finally came to the fore. He can drive the ball to all fields and is still learning how to add loft to his swing. Despite his size, Duda runs well enough to have fringe-average range in left field, and he still has some arm strength. He played mostly left field as a college junior and has a better chance to stick as a reserve player if he can stay there in pro ball. Whether he plays left or first base (where he saw more action during his pro debut), his raw power will have to play more than it did in his amateur career. He's expected to anchor the Savannah lineup in 2008.