During the last year, we’ve watched a few special New York athletes truly breakout. In New Jersey, Jason Pierre Paul registered 15.5 sacks and helped the Giants win the Super Bowl. In Manhattan, Jeremy Lin is the starting point guard of the Knicks and has taken the city (and now country) by storm. On Long Island, center John Tavares has scored 22 goals and is on pace to break his career scoring record. Moving forward, one young New York baseball player is ready to break out and his name is not Michael Pineda..

Who Is This Dude?--AP Photo

My pick for New York’s next breakout athlete is: Mets outfielder, Lucas Duda

When a player has a last name as catchy as ‘Duda’, he’s worth looking into. Duda’s season ended a little prematurely last season when he crashed into the right field wall at Citi Field. However, Duda, 26, is set to open as the Mets’ opening day right fielder after an abbreivated stint with the team last year. In 347 plate appearnaces with the Mets, Duda posted a .292/.370/.482 line, which is quite impressive for a rookie player. Duda walked 10 percent of the time while only striking out at a 16 percent clip, both impressive figures for a rookie. However, Duda’s power is what really caught my eye.

In his first 136 at-bats, Duda hit just two home runs. As he adjusted to Major League pitching, Duda blasted eight dingers in his final 165 at-bats. Duda posted a 22 percent line drive rate and 44 percent fly ball rate on batted balls and his BABIP was .320, which was inline with his minor league rate. Duda posted a 10.2 percent home run to fly ball rate, which was right in line with the Major League average. Now that the Mets have moved the fences in, expect that average to jump up a bit.

Finally, Duda averaged 412.2 feet per home run (MLB average is 393.4 feet), which slighly trailed Mike Stanton’s average of 417.4 feet per home run. Stanton was second Jose Bautista in ‘no doubt’ home runs. Bottom line, this dude can hit with some serious power.

Given Duda’s high fly ball rate (44 percent), line drive rate (22 percent), average home run distance (412.2 feet) mixed in with shortened fences at Citi Field and 2012 is shaping up to be Duda’s breakout season. Keep an eye on this Duda and hopefully we’ll talk about him in the same breath as JPP and Jeremy Lin this summer.