|Age at Opening Day 2014. Stats Per 162 Games Played|
Take a good look at each of these goofballs, because there is a pretty good chance one of them isn't on the team this time next weekend. Once last time for good measure, we're going to dive into who should stay and who should go.
Ike Davis' fall from grace has been epic. He burst onto the scene in 2010 with surprising power and theatrical defense, immediately cementing him into the minds of Mets fans as our first baseman of the future. Then came early May 2011 and an infield collision which cost him the rest of his season and seemingly changed the path of his career forever. Davis would return to start the 2012 season, but would struggle mightily for months to find his head at the plate. A late season surge allowed him to post a batting average of only .227, but he managed to clap 32 home runs. 2013 brought with it similar offensive struggles and a demotion to the minors. There would be no crazy late season surge, resulting in a .205 batting average, only 9 home runs and questions of his future in Queens.
Lucas Duda's story is very different. He has never spent a full season at the major league level, due in part to Davis' stronghold on his natural position, first base. His bat, more specifically his power potential, would see the Mets try to find a spot for him in the outfield. He struggled more often than not due to what many perceive as a lack of confidence, bringing his struggles in the field to the plate with him. That experiment would mercifully come to an end in 2013 when an injury found him banished to the minors, only to be promoted immediately prior to an injury that subsequently ended Ike Davis year. He would finish the season at first base, sparking a debate as to who should man the position going forward.
Who actually gets a chance to play first base next year for the New York Mets may be more tied to who has less trade value, than who the better player is. Clearly, neither player is perfect. Fans have soured on both, having sat through two frustrating seasons with Davis and Duda's almost circus like bouts with left field. However, each may have their merits.
First and foremost, Davis is only one year removed from a 32 home run season. That type of power production alone will turn heads. He is still relatively young and won't make a ton of money next season. That said, he will make at least $3 million more than Duda, who has shown better patience at the plate, hits to all fields and has significant power himself. Who is better? Maybe the correct question is who has the higher ceiling? Will Ike Davis benefit from a change of scenery or does Duda's raw talent project better?
My personal opinion, I don't think either gives you a significant advantage over the other in 2014. No matter who ends up with the gig, I think you'll be looking at a stat line of around .235/20/60. If it were me, I'd look to unload Davis for two reasons. First and foremost, he has proven power potential at the major league level whereas Duda has never hit more than 15 home runs in any one season. Secondly and possible as important due to the Mets situation, trading Davis allows you to reallocate almost $4 million dollars to another part of the diamond.
What do you think? Should the Mets give Davis one more chance or would you give Duda a change to prove his worth at his natural position? Are either the first baseman of the future? More importantly, who won't be with the team upon the completion of the Winter Meetings?