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Mets 101 Camp Battles Series: First Base

February 24th, 2014 at 12:08 PM
By Mike Phillips

This week at Mets 101, we are going to give you a look at some of the most important positional battles at training camp this season. While the New York Mets did upgrade their team by adding key free agents like Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, they didn't find a true answer to all of their problem spots from last season. One of the more intriguing battles at Mets camp is at first base, where the Mets are trying to find some power at the position.

The Front Runners: 

'Ike Davis' photo (c) 2010, slgckgc - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Ike Davis: Davis is trying to salvage his major league career after a disappointing 2013 campaign. After hopes were high following a 32 home run 2012 campaign, Davis struggled out of the gate again and got himself banished to the minor leagues for a three week stretch in June. Davis performed better upon his return, but his season ended prematurely with an oblique injury. 

Davis was the subject of trade rumors for most of the winter, but the Mets were unable to find a suitor so Davis remains in the mix for the job. The Mets are still listening to offers on Davis, but he remains on the Mets and has the most potential of any candidate for the job. Manager Terry Collins has promised to give Davis a lot of at bats this spring to try and help him get off to a faster start, but it remains to be seen how it will work. 

Lucas Duda: Duda appears to be the guy the front office wants to win the first base job. Duda does have power potential and a good eye at the plate, but Duda has failed to establish himself either as a major league regular. Failed experiments in the outfield saw Duda end up at first base last season, which is the best fit for him defensively. While Duda hit well at first in his brief stint there, injuries also cost him time as well. Duda does have an option left, so the Mets can send him to the minor leagues if he doesn't win the job in camp.

The Long Shots:

Josh Satin: Satin hit well for the Mets last year after being called up from Las Vegas, but the factor hurting his regular chances is that he had most of his success against lefties. Satin hit .317 against lefties but only .250 against righties, a clear sign he would be best utilized as a platoon player. Satin also doesn't bring much in the power category, hitting only three home runs in 2013. Satin likely will get starts at first against southpaws, but his odds of being a starter are slim.

Wilmer Flores: Flores seems to be in the mix for playing time at several positions. Flores has improved his range and speed, but the main reason Flores could stick at first is his bat. Flores offers tremendous potential at the plate, but finding him a defensive position has been a problem. Flores could end up here if no one else in the competition is hitting, but his clearer path to playing time comes at shortstop.

The Sleeper: 

Daniel Murphy: Murphy is the team's primary second baseman, but he has played first base in the past. While the Mets would like to use him at second, Collins has indicated the Mets could slide him to first base if neither Davis or Duda is hitting at an acceptable level. Moving Murphy to first would open up second for a player like Eric Young Jr or Flores, giving the Mets more offensive ability. The negative here is the defensive downgrade as both Flores and Young would be a step down from Murphy at second defensively.

Who Wins?

As long as he doesn't completely trip over himself in spring training, we are projecting that this is Ike Davis' job to lose. While the front office does like Lucas Duda, they may use the season's first few weeks to try and either catch lightning in a bottle with Davis or showcase him for a trade. Davis will likely cede at bats to Satin as the Mets play matchups, but he remains the favorite prior to Grapefruit League games.

Just because the Super Bowl left NY/NJ it doesn't mean the NFL action is over. Come see the Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Liberty Science Center see jerseys worn by legends, make the tough call under the hood, try on equipment and get immersed into football like never before.

Just because the Super Bowl left NY/NJ it doesn't mean the NFL action is over. Come see the Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Liberty Science Center see jerseys worn by legends, make the tough call under the hood, try on equipment and get immersed into football like never before.

Tags: Baseball, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Josh Satin, Lucas Duda, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Wilmer Flores

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