It has been a long time since the Mets have had so many players make their major league debuts and to do so as successfully as they have.
Last night, Travis d’Arnaud joined the party and became the sixth Met to make his major league debut this season, joining: Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Gonzalez Germen, Juan Lagares and Scott Rice. He went went 0-for-2 with two walks in his debut and more importantly, he looked like he belonged.
Scott Rice was the first rookie to make his mark, hitting the ground running with a 1.88 ERA in April and a league leading 15 appearances. That trend would continue all through the season as manager Terry Collins kept calling his number seemingly every game. Eventually, Rice went through a dead-arm period in June after 40+ appearances and a pace that had him aiming for 108 appearances. Yes, you read that right. Collins eased up on the 32-year old rookie and he responded with a 1.35 ERA in July and a 1.23 ERA so far in August. If you were giving out a Mets rookie of the year award, Rice would be my choice hands down.
Poor Juan Lagares gets called up in April after Operation Cowgill was deemed a massive failure. However, the problem was that through the end of May he had only accumulated 47 at-bats and started in just nine of his first 47 games with the Mets. The outrage at his being left to squander on the bench reached it’s apex after a three-hit game on June 5th against the Nationals that saw him make two incredible defensive grabs; one of them to rob a home run and the other a diving acrobatic catch to save two runs. His reward was to get benched the next day and it would take another week until Collins finally decided to give Lagares an extended look beginning on June 15th. He has cemented himself in center field ever since.
The long awaited debut of Zack Wheeler came on Super Tuesday and if not for Matt Harvey flirting with a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader in Atlanta, Wheeler would have gotten a lot more fanfare that day. Since then, the young righthander has had his ups and downs dealing with his well documented control issues and a mild case of tipping his pitches. But recently he has shown great signs of improvement including his first double-digit strikeout game of the season. More importantly his walks are down and his confidence keeps growing.
Is it pronounced “Her-man” or “Ger-man” or is it just “Germen” on “Herman”? We may never know and it’s funny to hear Gary, Keith and Kevin (Where’s Ron) have a conversation about him the other day with each of them pronouncing his name differently. All I can say is that Keith is definitely the one who has it way wrong. But regardless, how incredible has Gonzalez Germen been for the Mets? How about a 2.70 ERA incredible and holding the opposition to a microscopic .177 batting average? The 25-year old righthander wasn’t having much success in Triple-A Las Vegas before his promotion, but so far so good since joining the Mets’ pen.
Wilmer Flores has had the longest tenure among the Mets top prospects list than anyone else I can remember. He’s been ranked anywhere between tenth and first since 2009. He finally arrived less than two weeks ago, and within his first seven games in the majors, he was already in the Mets record books with nine RBIs in his first week. A sore ankle has shelved him for most of this week, but he returned to the lineup last night and stroked a double to right field and got to second in a hurry and with no problems. He’ll soon get some time in at second base, according to Collins. But that’s not the same as saying according to the Book of Matthew.
And last, but certainly not least, is top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud who only showed up last night. But it’s almost a foregone conclusion that he’ll be the Mets starting catcher in 2014 and batting somewhere in the middle of the batting order. In fact, we may even see that happen before this moth is through.
So there you have it… A quick summary of all six Mets debuts and there’s hardly a one here who won’t be back next season to play a significant role for the Amazins. I can’t recall the last time we batted 1.000 and went 6-for-6 with rookie call-ups? Can you?