Monday, the Mets announced that OF Lucas Duda and SS Reese Havens would complete the Mets contributions to the Surpris Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. Duda and Havens join 1B Ike Davis, RHP Jenrry Mejia, SS Ruben Tejada, RHP Scott Moviel, LHP Eric Niesen and RHP Josh Stinson in the desert.
The 23-year old Duda hit .281/.380/.428 for AA Binghamton this year with nine HR. Powered by a five HR July, Duda hit .302/.394/.570 in 86 AB after the All-Star Break compared to .275/.376/.388 in 309 AB before the Break. That’s a 200 point increase in OPS from .764 to .964. Impressive stuff. However, the lefthanded hitting Duda has just a wee bit of work to do if he’s to become more than a platoon guy after hitting .192/.283/.225 against southpaws and crushing righties at a .320/.421/.516 pace.
Havens will join the AFL team’s taxi squad and be available for Wednesday and Saturday’s games. Havens popped 14 HR, placing him sixth in the FSL as part of a .247/.361/.422 season.
Many Mets fans were hoping that CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis would get the nod for the Mets final OF spot in the AFL, but sending Duda makes some sense. The AFL is supposed to be a finishing school for top prospects, and Duda is more ready for that than Nieuwenhuis, who’s played all of eight games at AA. Duda deserves a chance against top competition to show that his second half improvement is real. Nieuwenhuis will start 2010 at AA, a level behind Duda and his performance from there will dictate his future assignments.