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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Richard Lucas Battles Expectations for the New York Mets

Even though the New York Mets recently signed David Wright to a $138 million extension, they still cultivate third base prospects in their minor league system. Richard Lucas is one of those young players that the organization has put in a lot of time and work in recent years to see if they could develop another asset. Despite the effort and being highly drafted, unfortunately it has never quite come together for the youngster.

Lucas was drafted by New York in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB draft out of Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Mets gave him a $150,000 signing bonus to bypass a scholarship to Florida State University, and immediately assigned him to the minors to start his career.

Lucas started out with mixed results, with fluctuating production that was marred by missing significant time due to injuries. In fact, it wasn’t until 2010 that he finally played in more than 52 games in a single season, when he logged 129 games with St. Lucie in High-A ball.

The right-handed hitter has spent six years in the Mets’ system, unable to rise above High-A. He has a career .251 batting average with 34 home runs and 222 RBI in 459 games. He has also consistently struggled to make contact, whiffing in nearly a third of his at-bats.

Lucas was eligible for the Rule-5 draft this past offseason, but went unclaimed. It’s unclear if he will continue his career with the Mets. Still just 24, he is still young enough if the Mets or another team decides he is worth taking a chance on. Only time will tell what his future holds in baseball.

Richard Lucas Interview:

How did you first become interested in baseball?: I started playing baseball when I was three. When I was four I jumped on a team when I was able to from then on.

Did you have a favorite team or player growing up?: My favorite player when I was growing up was Ken Griffey, Jr. My favorite team was the Phillies when I was growing up.

Did you try to model your game after Griffey?: Oh yeah! I always tried to make my swing look like his because of how smooth it was.

How did you first discover that the Mets were interested in you?: Just through high school with scouts coming out and checking me out, and me talking with them.

Did you do anything special for yourself or your family after you signed?: Aww man, I stuck by my family a lot. Just the needs of the family and everything like that.

How has your experience in the minor leagues been so far for you?: You want to improve every day. The minor leagues are fun; a lot of fun if I play every day.


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