...a behemoth with massive raw power, Duda works the count and makes a surprising amount of contact for a slugger, with scouts saying that his statistical line is no mirage. His play in left field is laughable, butDuda's at bats will be right up there with Jenrry Mejia's offerings are going to be two of the most interesting things to me about the finale to the Mets season.
he understands the need to improve, knowing that the presence of rookie first baseman Ike Davis in the big leagues means that the weak outfield corner is his only path to the big leagues...
There's a key point that Goldstein, and nearly everyone else who's written about Duda, including me, recently has taken for granted: Ike Davis has first base locked down. The 23-year old Davis has hit just .248/.331/.419 with 15 home runs. That's not good enough. There's some case he'll improve, but his 27.9% K/rate is scary. Davis is 27th among MLB first basemen in Fangraph's batting runs. He hops up to 17th in overall value (1.9 WAR) because he's been the second-best fielder at the position (+7.4) behind only Justin Morneau.
It's not going to be easy for Duda to supplant Davis at first, and frankly, no one should be rooting for it. However, the idea that Davis is clearly the answer at the position is simply wrong. Davis has done plenty of nice things in 2010, but the numbers make plain that he's been a below average performer at first base. Maybe Duda won't hit much in the big leagues either. In a perfect Mets world, both Duda and Davis hit enough to deserve everyday jobs on a corner with above average production. Fans would not only watching good baseball players, but get the extra warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing that they're homegrown. Right now, all fans have is the warm fuzzies without the production.
In the New York Post, earlier this week, Tim Bontemps argued that the Mets should not have recalled Jenrry Mejia to the big leagues right now.
The more prudent thing to do would be to keep Mejia in the minors, to have him pitch in instructional league and the Arizona Fall League toget to the necessary innings (roughly 125) for him to be a starter for the Mets next season, then prepare to have him as the team's fifth starter in 2011, giving fans a bright new face to be excited about, one that isn't tainted by what looks like it will be a rough finish to the 2010 season.I just don't buy any of this argument at all. The question earlier this week was simply whether Mejia was going to start Saturday in Lehigh Valley for Buffalo or for the Mets in Chicago. After that one start on Saturday, there's no reason Mejia shouldn't join the Mets rather than sit around watching the games on TV.
With Buffalo slipping out of the playoff race, it's not like the Mets moving Mejia to the big leagues for Saturday's start, was going to deny their affiliate a playoff payday. So, the question is purely one of development.
As for Mejia, is one more start in AAA going to make much of a difference? I don't see it.
On the innings front, Mejia's has thrown 70 innings between the Majors and minors right now. If he starts every fifth day for the Mets from now until season's end, they should be able to get him six more starts. Lets say he goes five innings a start. That takes him to 100 innings. Then, if they wanted to, the team could have him throw a few games in instructs in early October if they were concerned with getting him a little more work. This is actually preferable to having him throw in Buffalo on Saturday and then shutting it down for a few weeks before getting geared back up for Instructs/AFL. Also, Mejia threw just 14.1 innings in the AFL. The AFL is an extremely hard environment for a pitcher's development.
Mejia won't be "tainted" by the "rough" end to the Mets 2010 season. He'll be thrilled to be living his big league dream.
If you want him to make an impact in 2011, he should throw for the Mets here now in 2010 so that the team has a feel for whether his made enough progress both with his fastball command and his secondary offerings to be a viable option early next year. I would bet that Mejia's next month could help shape some of the Mets' offseason pitching plans.
The "taking it slow" concept sounds nice, but Mejia has blown right past that.