Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Duda Train Comes a-Chuggin 'Round Second...

Last night (or early morning) after another long day, I wanted to sit down to watch the Mets take on the Nationals, but felt so tired I just couldn't do it. I would have only gotten 4 hours of sleep (and I've only been averaging 5 lately) so watching this game just didn't make any sense to me.

I had heard, however, that at some point in the game (which the Mets lost 2-3) Lucas Duda hit a triple, and I knew I couldn’t go into March 29th without having watched The Lumberjack chug around second on his way to third.

Well... It wasn’t exactly the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. He ripped a ball down the line into the Nats’ bullpen, which ricocheted off the leg of a pitcher trying to get out of the way. As far as I could tell, the second it touched somebody it should have been a ground-rule double, but I am not a Major League umpire calling a Mets Nationals Spring Training game. And unfortunately, SNY didn’t get (or didn’t show) any shot of The Duda frolicking around the bases.

So, the moment was very anti-climatic for me.

However, The Duda is not. He continues to impress me, and has quickly become, in the short time he has been here, my favorite position player on our Metropolitans. Might it be a little early to declare this? Maybe. But while we all expected major power from the kid, he has shown us substantially more than that. He is a smart hitter who adjusts his swing depending on what he reads from the pitcher. He can go long to power up that fastball over the plate. He can shorten his swing if the pitcher is working inside. He can tighten it up and knock a single the other way if the situation calls for it. He reads breaking balls real well, and adjusts accordingly. He has the potential for a major year, and the Lumberjack might just deliver it.

By the way, Ted Berg of Ted Quarters has a "over/under" poll on whether or not Duda will hit more than 2 1/2 triples this year (I guess half a triple would be if he's tagged out half-way between 1st and 2nd trying to stretch a single into a...triple? I don't know. I don't know what a half-triple is.) I was going to vote under, but then voted over, taking into account that while Citi Field will be harder to hit triples in now that they took away those crazy pockets of outfield, there is every possibility that he hits a slow one down the right field line on the road and the fielder has a tough time getting to it. So, I say he will hit...3 1/2 triples in 2012.

I was able to watch bits and pieces of yesterday's game and I am getting excited for Niese to take that next step in his career this year. He has looked real sharp this spring, working that cutter into his rep and using that awesome curveball a little more. He has a good idea of what kind of pitcher he is and I believe it will all come together in 2012.

There's baseball at Citi Field in one week.

Hey...Guess what? There's baseball at Citi Field in one week.

My God, there's a real baseball game being played next week.


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