Duda among Mets thriving from winter workouts
SEATTLE -- It is perhaps little coincidence that while Mets first baseman Lucas Duda enjoys a breakout year, Ruben Tejada is somewhat unexpectedly holding down the starting job at shortstop.
Tejada's main competition in the Minors, Wilmer Flores, has been on fire for weeks, while infielders Matt Reynolds and Dominic Smith have emerged on the prospect scene. Juan Lagares, meanwhile, has fended off all comers for the starting center field position.
Those players all participated in the Mets' independently-run fitness camp this winter in Michigan, sacrificing a large chunk -- in some cases, multiple chunks -- of their offseasons to train using new and different methods.
As those players now enter the so-called dog days of the summer, some -- such as Duda, who hit a 446-foot home run Tuesday against the Mariners -- are thriving.
"Everybody gets tired," Duda said. "Everybody gets beat up. I think staying healthy is a mix between good offseason program, diet, a good in-season program and some luck."
Mike Barwis, who runs the Michigan facility at which the Mets trained, and who used the gym as the basis for a new reality television show, estimated in a recent telephone interview that 95 percent of his training techniques were novel for the Mets who attended.
"What we do is not really done other places in the world or the country," said Barwis, whose "American Muscle" show airs on Discovery. "We're probably one of the most cutting-edge scientific programs in the world."
How much that is helping the Mets now, in late July, is impossible to know. But the system does have its believers.
"Obviously he's very knowledgeable," Duda said of Barwis. "I think Juan and Ruben can attest that we came into Spring Training in pretty good shape. Hopefully, that will continue to translate on the field."