The Mets’ offense has not been one to write home about this season, hitting just .227 (28th in the National League) going into Sunday’s game against the Braves. With the additions of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, the offense looked like it had the potential to be better in 2014 than it did in 2013.
But with Granderson’s struggles through the early part of the year and Ruben Tejada not getting the job done at shortstop, the offense has sputtered, especially at home. Many have pointed to Granderson’s and Tejada’s struggles, saying that the Mets need to go out and acquire a shortstop, which I’m not against at all. But to me, there’s another part of this lineup that needs to start hitting, and that is is Travis d’Arnaud.
When I had heard the Mets traded R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays and that they had acquired a top catching prospect in the deal, I was more than thrilled. After seeing the days of guys like Raul Casanova and Omir Santos behind the plate, a young catcher that could both hit and call a solid game behind the plate intrigued me. To finally see him get called up in August of last year, I felt that the future was finally up in Flushing. He had a triple slash of just .202/.286/.263, but I gave him a pass because of the injuries he had dealt with and he was hitting at the Major League level for the first time in his life.
Heading into spring training, d’Arnaud was one of the guys I was looking forward to watching. I went down to Port St. Lucie in early March for the first time in my life and wanted to see what the younger guys brought to the table. Every time d’Arnaud got up, I made sure I stopped what I was doing so I could see what he would do at the plate. I went to three games in that span, and did not see him get a single hit. I wasn’t concerned, three games is a small sample size and anyone could go hitless in a short period of time. But for the rest of the spring, he still really never found his stroke and ended up hitting just .163 for for the pre season schedule.
I thought after the spring season, d’Arnaud could turn it around when the Mets headed north to start the season. But so far in 2014, he’s fed into a lot of the second guessers, and has continued to struggle at the dish. Though he did have two hits and an RBI Saturday night against the Braves, he’s still hitting just .170 through the early part of the season.
Normally, I’d be patient with a guy in his first full season like d’Arnaud is. But the thing is, he’s 25 and isn’t the young prospect that was traded for Roy Halladay anymore. At some point he needs to step up and finally show that he’s a competent hitter at this level. Yes, the production from Tejada and Granderson have just been as lackluster, but the Mets just can’t have their catcher hitting under .200.
D’Arnaud’s defense and ability to call games has been there, but his swing is just not. I know it’s just April, but I’m actually concerned with his approach at the plate right now. But with it being early in the season and the entire offense not getting the job done, this would be the perfect time for the rookie to step up and hit like he is projected to.