Lucas Duda: 2015 N.L. Champion Mets First Baseman (2010-2017)

Lucas Christopher Duda
was born on February 3rd, 1986, in Fontana, California in San Bernardino County, approx. 50 miles outside of Los Angeles. Duda grew up an Anaheim Angels fan watching Wally Joyner & Darin Erstad play first base for the Halos.

Duda was named All State in California in his high school senior year, batting .493. He then attended the University of Southern California playing three seasons with the Trojans batting .275 overall. He led the team in HRs (7) during his final season batting .280 as he moved over to play left field. 

In 2007 the six foot three, left-handed hitting, right hand throwing Duda was drafted in the seventh round (the 243rd pick overall) by the New York Mets. 

Nickname Trivia: He is known as "the Dude" as well as "the Big Lebowski".

Later in 2007 he was a member of the Brooklyn Cyclones who went all the way to the New York/Penn League finals losing to the Auburn Doubleday’s. Duda batted .299 with 4 HRs 20 doubles & 32 RBIs playing both left field & at first base throughout the season.

The following year he was promoted to A ball St. Lucie where he batted .263 with 11 HRs while striking out 129 times. But his play was good enough to get him to AA Binghamton in 2009 where he hit .281 with 9 HRs 7 53 RBIs in 110 games, posting a .996 fielding % at first base. 

He began 2010 back at Binghamton but after 45 games was promoted to AAA Buffalo.
He had a big year in Buffalo including setting a Bison’s record by homering in five straight games & winning their Player of the Year Award.

He also won the 2010 Mets organization Sterling Award. Overall, in 115 games in the minors in 2010, he hit .304 with 23 HRs with 40 doubles 87 RBIs &.398 on base percentage.

He earned the September call up to the Mets making his debut on September 1st, flying from Buffalo to Atlanta. In that game he made a great sliding catch in the outfield & went hitless in three at bats.

Two weeks later he hit his first career HR , also against Atlanta, off Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson whom he had played against in high school. Duda hit another HR in Florida & then two more on the final home stand at Citi Field against Milwaukee & Washington. He finished the year hitting safely in 11 of his last 16 games, batting .202 with 4 HRs 6 doubles 13 RBIs in 29 games played.

Mets Career: In 2011 he made the club out of Spring Training and got an appearance as a pinch
hitter on Opening Day going 0-1. 

He struggled with just two hits in 21 at bats through May 4th and was sent down to AAA Buffalo to get things together. In 38 games with the Bisons he hit 10 HRs with 24 RBIs while batting .302 getting back to New York by June 2nd.

Upon his return he had an RBI single & RBI sac fly against the Pittsburgh Pirates helping Dillon Gee to his seventh straight win. 

He eventually began to hit throughout the month. On June 25th at Arlington Texas in an interleague game with the Rangers he had four hits with three doubles & four RBIs in the Mets 14-5 win.

Duda hit safely in nine of ten games in July, hitting a HR on July 27th at Cincinnati. The next day he drove in three runs with a bases loaded double off Homer Bailey in the Mets 10-9 win. 

In August he hit six HRs while driving in twenty runs, collecting seven multi-hit games raising his average above .290.

Walk Off Hit:
On August 8th he batted in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career. In the bottom of the 9th inning, he came to bat against Padres closer Heath Bell with the Mets down by one run. Justin Turner was on third base & David Wright on second base. Duda singled home both runs for a dramatic walk off win, only the fourth of the year for the Mets.

From August 8th through the 29th he hit safely in 14 of 18 games, with 26 hits driving in 16 runs. He began September driving in runs in six of his first seven games, including driving in the only run of a September 7th game in Florida helping R.A. Dickey to 1-0 win over Brad Hand. 

In twenty games on the month, he drove in eleven runs.

Duda finished out the season batting .292 with 10 HRs 21 doubles 50 RBIs a .370 on base % & an .852 OPS in 100 games played. The Mets finished fourth (77-85) under Terry Collins in his first season.

2012: Duda began 2012 batting sixth & playing right field in the Opening Day win against the Atlanta Braves. The next day he hit two solo HRs, one off Chad Durbin & the other off Jair Jurrjens leading the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Braves.

On April 24th Duda broke an 8th inning, 1-1 tie in Miami with an RBI base hit off Edward Mujica, which turned out to be the game winning hit. From April 24th to the 28th, he drove in eight runs, topped off with a four RBI game on April 28th where he hit his fourth HR.

On May 22nd his 8th inning RBI broke another tie game & led to a 3-1 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. On May 30th he had another multi-HR game, in a 10-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

He began June with a big four RBI game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He bashed a three run HR off Adam Wainwright & helped Johan Santana in the 8-0 shut out. Later in the week Duda hit a two run HR off Chien-Ming Wang in Washington, leading to a 3-1 Mets win over the Nat's. At this early point in the season the Mets were surprising everyone by competing with the Nationals for the top spot in the NL East.

In July he fell into a deep slump & found himself batting .241, although he did have 12 HRs. He was sent down to AAA Buffalo where he batted .260, with three HRs & eight RBIs through August 25th. 
Duda returned a month later on August 26th. On August 29th he hit a 2nd inning, two run HR off the Phillies Tyler Cloyd in what turned out to be the winning runs in the Mets & Matt Harvey's 3-2 win. 

In September Duda, hit just two HRs & finished the year batting .239. On September 28th, Duda hit a three run HR off the Braves Tim Hudson, driving in all three Mets runs in Jonathon Niese's Mets 3-1 win.

Duda finished the 2012 season at .239 with 15 HRs 15 doubles 57 RBIs a .329 on base % & a .718 OPS. In the outfield (105 games) he made five assists making four errors with a .977 fielding %.  The Mets finished 74-88.

Off Season Injury: In the off season he suffered a broken right wrist while moving furniture in Southern California, he had surgery & was ready by Spring Training.

Entering the 2013 season his role was not certain, but the fact he was one of the clubs biggest HR threats was in his favor. He began the year with a HR in the second game of the season in a 8-4 win against the Padres. 

On April 10th Duda hit a pair of HRs in Philadelphia, coming off Mike Adams & Kyle Kendrick in a 7-3 Mets win. On April 19th he had another multi-HR game, hitting two against the Nat's Drew Storen & Stephen Strasburg in a 7-1 win at Citi Field.

Subway Series Walk Off Hit:
During the subway series sweep at the end of May, Duda contributed on May 28th, with a game winning walk off single off Mariano Rivera. The Mets had entered the bottom of the 9th down 1-0, but Daniel Murphy doubled & David Wright singled to tie the game. Duda's hit followed. 

The next day he had a two run double off Adam Warren in the Mets 9-4 win across town in the Bronx.

By June 22nd Duda had 11 HRs, tied for second on the club with David Wright & one behind team leader; John Buck. But Duda was batting just .235 & then he went down with a strained muscle in his ribs, he would miss two months of action.

He had seen the majority of his playing time in left field (58 games) before the injury but when he returned, he was mostly at first base (34 games) after the struggles of Ike Davis. He shared time there with Josh Satin.  

In September he hit four HRs with 10 RBIs & 15 walks, as he continued to hit for low average but put up good on base %. 

On September 13th, he carried the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins at Citi Field with his 6th inning, three run HR off Brad Hand. The next day in the second game of a double header with the Marlins, he hit his 14th HR a solo shot in the Mets 3-1 win.

He finished the year with 15 HRs 16 doubles 33 RBIs 55 walks a .352 on base % (second on the club to David Wright) & a 767 OPS in 100 games. He struck out 102 times, his second straight season of 100 or more Ks.

2014: Although the Mets did make minor attempts to shop Duda in the off season, they eventually traded away Ike Davis early in 2014 season. Duda was their man & became the Mets regular first baseman.

On April 4th, Mets manager Terry Collins announced that Duda would get the bulk of the playing time at first base. That night, Duda responded &hit a pair of HRs, driving in all four runs of the Mets 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 

He had a slow start to the season, hitting four HRs in April & just three in May, finishing the month batting .236.

He started off June with a top of the 11th inning game winning HR, at Philadelphia off Phillipe Aumont. He capped off an eight-game hit streak & then drove in six runs in the week. 

In the final two weeks of June he hit four HRs & raised his average to .255. 
On the 4th of July, he helped the Mets in 6-5 win against the Texas Rangers, adding a two run HR off Yu Darvish.

In the final eight games of the month of July he played in, Duda hit five HRs, three coming in a four-game series at Milwaukee, with the Mets winning two of those games. As the Mets returned home, Duda hit a three run HR off the Phillies Phillipe Aumont in an 11-2 romp over Philadelphia. 

On August 1st, Duda added another HR in a 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. It was the first time in his career he passed the 20 HR mark in a season. From July 24th to August 1st, Duda had driven in runs in seven straight games, eight of nine games.
Over a six-game stretch in mid-August he went on another hot streak, hitting five HRs driving
in 11 runs. On August 24th, at Dodger Stadium the Mets avoided a sweep exploding for 11 runs in an 11-3 win over the Dodgers.

Five RBI Day: On August 24th in a game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Duda hit a 3rd inning three run HR off Kevin Correia. In the 7th he singled in the Mets eighth run. In the top of the 9th, he added a solo HR. On the night he hit two HRs & drove in a season high five runs helping Bartolo Colon to his 12th win.

In September he capped off the year by driving in 16 runs in the month, while hitting four HRs. The most important ones came in the last two games of the year. 

Walk Off HR: On September 27th, the Mets were down 1-0 to the Houston Astros in the bottom of the 9th inning with one on & two out. Duda blasted a two-run walk off HR down the right field line, off Tony Sipp for an exciting game winner.

The next day, he hit an 8th inning HR adding to the Mets lead & personally giving him his 30th HR of the year. It was a milestone mark, as Duda enjoyed the best year of his young career.

He led the Mets with 30 HRs (3rd best in the NL) 92 RBIs (5th best in the NL) 8 intentional walks (10th in the NL) a .481 slugging% & a .349 on base %.

He hit a career high 130 hits with 27 doubles 69 walks a .349 on base % & a .830 OPS. He struck out 135 times, making it three straight years with 100+ strikeouts.

At first base in 146 games, he posted a .994 fielding % & was second in the league helping turn 125 double plays.

Trivia: Due to his name Duda, some opposing teams will have the public address announcer play Camptown Races when he came to bat- doo da doo da!

2015 Mets Pennant Season: Lucas Duda started out 2015 expected to be the Mets main slugger. On Opening Day in Washington D.C. with the Mets down 1-0 after a Brian Harper HR, Duda put the Mets ahead with a two-run single scoring David Wright & Curtis Granderson. The Mets went on to a 3-1 win.

A week later, as the Mets put together an 11-game win streak, Duda had a good home stand, driving in seven runs with a dozen hits, including six doubles in that stretch. On April 14th he hit a pair of doubles driving in three runs, helping Matt Harvey to his second win, as the Mets beat the Phillies 6-5.

The next day he hit his first HR of the season, with another double driving in two more runs, as the Mets beat the Phils 6-1.

On April 22nd, his 8th inning single against the Braves broke a 2-2 tie & was the Mets game winning hit. On April 25th, he added a HR off CC Sabathia in the Mets 8-2 win during the early season subway series. 

Duda finished the month of April batting .325 with 12 RBIs, he walked 13 times to post a .427 on base % scoring 13 runs.

On May 21st, Duda hit two HRs & drove in four runs, as Jacob deGrom (& Jeurys Familia) shut out the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0.  Three games later he hit his 6th HR of the year. On May 26th Duda had another multi-HR game, as his two solo HRs helped the Mets in a 7-0 win over Philadelphia. He closed out the month of May batting at .298.

In June he slumped off hitting just .0187 with one HR & seeing his average drop forty points. But he did drive in nine runs with four of them coming in one run games & helping in Mets wins. 

On June 15th, with the Mets down 3-2 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Duda tied the game with a base hit off the Jays, Brett Cecil. He would score the winning run when Wilmer Flores singled up the middle, for a dramatic Mets come back.

Walk Off Hit: On June 28th, after a suspended game was resumed, Duda came to bat in the bottom of the 13th inning in a 1-1 tie with the Reds. A fielder's choice won the game with a walk off RBI scoring Dilson Herrera as the Mets beat Cincinnati 2-1.

On July 10th, Duda hit a three run HR off Arizona's Chase Anderson, leading the Mets & Noah Syndergaard to a 4-2 win over the d-Backs. The next day he hit a solo HR for his 12th HR of the year, as the Mets went on to another 4-1 win over Arizona. 

Player of the Week Award: At the end of July, Duda went on one of his hot streaks, tearing up the ball. In the week from July 25th to August 2nd, he hit 9 HRs with 12 RBIs collecting 12 hits. He won the Player of the Week Award sharing it with teammate Noah Syndergaard.  

On July 25th, he helped the Mets beat up on the Dodgers 15-2 at Citi Field, as he hit two solo HRs. His first off Chin-hui Tsao & the second off Josh Ravin. On July 28th, Duda hit a two run HR off the Padres James Shields in another Noah Syndergaard win, this one in a 4-0 shut out over San Diego at Citi Field. It was his 15th HR of the year.

Three HR Game:
 The next day on July 29th, Duda became just the second Met in history to hit three HRs in a home game. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was the first Mets player to have done it, just two weeks earlier. His first HR came to lead off the 2nd inning off Tyson Ross. In the 6th he hit a solo shot off Kevin Quackenbush & then topped it off with a 9th inning solo shot off Marcos Mateo.

Duda hit six HRs & drove in seven runs over the four-game span. It was at this point the Mets were still in second place & struggling a bit. 

Trade Deadline Aquisition's: But that week the new additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson & Juan Uribe helped bolster the Mets line up. Those bats along with rookie Michael Conforto, certainly supported Duda in the Mets now deeper line up.

As the Mets forged ahead, they swept the first place Nationals in a huge series at Citi Field. 
On August 1st, Duda hit two HRs off the Nat's Joe Ross, driving in all three Mets runs as they went on to the 3-2 win behind Jacob deGrom & the Mets bullpen. It was his fifth multi-HR game of the year.

The next day the Mets tied for first place as Duda capped off a Mets five run, 3rd inning with a HR off Jordan Zimmermann, for his 21st HR of the season.

Duda would spend some time on the DL that month & was able to rest since the Mets line up was scoring a lot of runs, especially off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes.

In September Duda had another monster series in Cincinnati the weekend the Mets clinched the NL Eastern Title. On September 23rd, he hit a pair of doubles off Matt Para, driving in two runs in the Mets 6-4 win.

Mets Clinch the NL East: The next day on September 25th, the Mets clinched their first NL Eastern title since 2006 & Lucas Duda had a career day for himself as well.

He started out the game with his first ever career grand slam, it came in the 3rd inning off the Reds Anthony DeSclafani. He added another two run HR in the 7th inning, as he topped off the Mets 12-5 NL East clinching win.

Once again Duda was on another of his amazing hot streaks. The next day he hit another HR & drove in four more runs. 

In his next game on September 29th, in Philadelphia he hit two more HRs getting him to 27 on the year. That day he drove in three more runs, totaling 73 for the year. In that four-game stretch he would hit five HRs & drive in 15 runs.

Hit By Pitch Mets Record: In the last game of the regular season, Duda was hit by a pitch by the Nat's Tanner Roark. That gave Duda a total of 14 hit by pitches on the year (5th most in the NL) setting the Mets single season record previously held by John Olerud & Ron Hunt.

On the regular season Duda led the club in HRs (27) 10th most in the NL & tied for the RBI lead (73) with Daniel Murphy. 
He was second to Curtis Granderson in both doubles (33) & on base % (.352). During the year he had seven multi-HR games. Duda drew 66 walks & posted a .838 OPS. He struck out 138 times, the second year in a row he struck out over 130 times & the fourth with 100+ K's.

2015 Post Season- NLDS: Duda struggled in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers,
going just 2-18 & striking out a record 11 times.

2015 NLCS: In the NLCS Mets sweep over the Chicago Cubs, he fared much better, mostly because of a huge last game. Duda went 4-10 batting .400 with a pair of doubles, a walk & a HR in the series.
In Game #3 he went 1-3 collecting an RBI on a 7th inning ground out.

In the Game #4 
at Wrigley Field Duda started out the game with a 1st inning three run HRoff Jason Hammel. Curtis Granderson had started out the game with a single & then Yoenis Cespedes drew a two out walk leading to the Duda blast. Travis d'Arnaud followed with a solo HR putting the Mets up 4-0. 

In the 2nd inning, with David Wright & Daniel Murphy aboard, Duda doubled off Travis Wood driving in two more runs putting he Mets up 6-0. They went on to an 8-3 win sweeping the NLCS in four games. 

Mets Post Season Record: Duda's five RBI night tied a Mets record. His five RBI was tied for the most by a Mets player in a single postseason game, a feat previously accomplished by Curtis Granderson in the 2015 NLDS, Carlos Delgado in the 2006 NLCS, Edgardo Alfonzo in the 1999 NLDS & Rusty Staub in the 1973 World Series. 

2015 World Series: Duda' bat stayed a bit hot in the World Series, as he hit safely in the first three games. 

In Game #2 in Kansas City, Duda drove in the Mets only run with a 4th inning single off Johnny Cueto.

In Game #5 at Citi Field, Duda's 6th inning sac fly gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. They held that 2-0 lead going to the 9th inning. Matt Harvey had pitched a shutout up to that point & Terry Collins allowed him to go out for the 9th as Harvey insisted he stay in the game.

Unfortunately, it was the wrong move, Lorenzo Cain drew a walk, stole second & scored on Eric Hosmer's double. Mike Moustakas then grounded out to Duda at first base for the first out. 

Next up Salvatore Perez grounded to third. Duda took the throw for the out, then threw home as Hosmer broke for the plate. Dudas erratic throw allowed the tying run to score.

Trivia: During the year Duda had only made three errors in 129 games at first base posting a .996 fielding %. 
The game went to extra innings as the Royals scored five runs in the top of the 12th clinching the World Series title.

After the Pennant: In January 2016, Duda avoided arbitration as the Mets gave him a $4.4 million-raise, as he made $6.7 million in 2016.

2016: Duda began the year with high expectations as the Mets slugging first baseman.

On Opening Day in Kansas City, he singled in the 8th inning off Joakim Soria bringing in the first two Mets runs of the year, although they took a 4-3 loss that day.

On a
mid-April Road trip to Philadelphia, he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in five runs as the Mets took two of three. From April 17th to April 25th, he drove in 11 runs, a typical Lucas Duda hot streak. 

On April 24th his sac fly in the 6th inning in Atlanta proved to be the game winning run. The next day he hit a two run HR off the Reds Raisel Iglesias in a 5-3 win over Cincinnati.

On May 4th he hit two HRs off the Braves Jhoulys Chacin in the Steven Matz's 8-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in Citi Field. 

Unfortunately, on May 23rd he went down with a stress fracture in his lower back. He was batting .231 with 7 HRs & 19 RBIs. At that time the Mets were 2.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in third place as well as being 0.5 games behind the Phillies in the wild card race.

Duda was out for four months, not returning until September 18th. At that point the Mets were eight games out of first but in the middle of the wild card race which they eventually won. 

The veteran James Loney had taken Duda's spot as the Mets first baseman filling in for Duda in his absence. Duda made six starts in September after returning, having his best day on September 27th, collecting two hits & three RBIs. 

For 2016 he hit 7 HRs with 7 doubles 23 RBIs a .302 on base % & a .714 OPS while batting .227 in just 47 games. 

In that off season the Mets showed no plans to trade or replace Lucas Duda at first base before the 2017 season.

2017: The Mets believed Duda's back was fully healed & he could be a dominant force in their hitting attack, but things didn't work out that way.

On Opening Day, Duda doubled with the bases loaded in the 6th inning off Braves pitcher Eric O'Flaherty in the Mets 6-0 win over Atlanta at Citi Field. 

Seven Mets HRs: On April 11th he hit two HRs off the Phillies pitchers Jeanmar Gomez & Adam Morgan in the Mets 14-4 romp in Philadelphia. In that game Yoenis Cespedes hit three HRs & the Mets hit seven total HRs.

On April 19th, Duda went down with back issues once again, not returning until a month later on
May 12th.

He didn't hit another HR until May 25th, then through June 3rd, over a ten-game span, he hit six HRs with 11 RBIs. On May 30th his two-run shot off the Brewers Carlos Torres led New York to a 9th inning walk off hit by Jay Bruce in the win over Milwaukee. 

On June 2nd he had a multi-HR game in a 12-7 loss to the Pirates. On June 13th & 14th he hit HRs in back-to-back games. On July 1st, he homered off Jeremy Hellickson in a 7-6 win over the Phillies. On July 16th he hit his 15th HR of the year then another the next day.

On July 28th the Mets were 48-53 in second place but 12.5 games back & going nowhere. The Mets traded Lucas Duda to the Tampa Rays for reliever Drew Smith. 

The Mets gave up on him with no real proven first baseman on the club. 

Duda will always be remembered for his contributions to the 2015 Pennant winner & his mammoth HRs.

Mets Career Stats: 
In his eight years with Mets Duda played in 760 games (23rd most in Mets history) with 125 HRs (9th on Mets all-time list) & 378 RBIs (18th on Mets all-time list). 

He hit .246 with 614 hits 146 doubles (16th on Mets all-time list) 3 triples with 325 runs scored. 

He walked 332 times with a .343 in base % & .801 OPS, striking out 683 times (7th most in Mets history). He was hit with 48 pitches (5th most in Mets history).

Post Mets Career:
He finished out 2017 with the Tampa Rays batting just .175. But he did hit 17 HRs, giving him a total of 30 for the season. It was his second 30 HR season. He also drove in 27 runs in 52 games played.

In February of 2018 he signed on with the Kansas City Royals. Duda hit 13 HRs with 12 doubles & 50 RBIs batting .242 in 87 games (310 at bats) seeing action in 61 games at first base.

On August 29th, 2018, his contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves. In 20 games where he played just two at first base, he hit one HR batting .222.

2019: He then signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. He made the club but went on the IL at the end of April. He would play in 39 games, hitting 4 HRs with 15 RBIs batting just .171. On July 27th, he was designated for assignment & then released.

He signed on with the Braves again on August 2nd but was released by the end of the month ending his playing career.

Career Stats: In his ten-year career Duda played in 958 games batting .239 with 741 hits 156 HRs 171 doubles 4 triples & 470 RBIs. He drew 394 walks a .334 on base % &  a .782 OPS. 

Duda stuck out 879 times in 3098 career at bats.

In his career, Duda has averaged a HR in every 19.9 at bats, which is 143rd best all time.

He has played in 540 games at first base with a .995 fielding % making just 23 errors in 4718 chances. He has also played 234 games in the outfield making 7 errors with a .981 fielding %.


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