Through the first month or so of the season, John Buck was a revelation for the New York Mets. A throw in for the deal and a salary dump on the part of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Dickey deal, the original plan for Buck was to be a stopgap until top-prospect Travis d’Arnaud was ready to take the reins at home plate in Flushing.
What the Mets didn’t plan for was their blue-chip prospect taking a foul ball off his foot and landing him in a boot for six weeks. Luckily enough, Buck was on fire, ranking among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories while also working well with the young pitching staff.
Through May 3rd, Buck had ten homers and 29 RBIs, on a pace for an astonishing 65 dingers and 188 runs batted in. Since then however, the 32-year old Wyoming native’s numbers have gone into a free fall.
Through May 3rd, Buck had a .905 OPS. Since then, his figures have been comparable to those of Ike Davis. His OPS has plummeted to an abysmal .498 with just one home run and six runs driven in. Over the past month, Buck has batted a mere .176 and slugged only .235 while striking out 30 times, the same number of punch outs as Davis over that time.
The simple answer is to give him some rest and throw Anthony Recker in the lineup until Buck gets back in the swing of things. The problem is, Recker isn’t a solid replacement option on either side of the diamond. By midseason, Buck was supposed to be the backup to d’Arnaud, and with that plan on hold, the Mets are now very thin at the catching position outside their slumping backstop in Buck.
Hopefully Buck can turn things around at the plate soon, and get that incredible power we saw in April back into his swing, because the Mets offense is suffering without it.