D’Arnaud calls it “The Wrap,” that thing he does with his wrists before swinging at a pitch, that thing that helps explain why a great prospect batted .202 in 99 big-league at-bats last year, and is 4-for-25 (.160) this spring.
The Wrap happens when d’Arnaud sees a fat, juicy pitch that he thinks he can turn into a home run. The ball comes his way, and his eyes — well, “they get big,” as he puts it, and he rolls, or cocks, or “wraps” his wrists while preparing to swing. The Mets have been trying to cure him of that extra, subconscious movement since last summer, but it’s not easy to stop something you don’t know you’re doing.
“I feel like it’s more of a mental thing,” d’Arnaud says when asked about the mechanical aspect of eliminating The Wrap. “For me, when I try to hit a home run, or try to hit a ball too far, the wrap will happen. It just happens naturally. I don’t even think about it. As far as making it happen less and less for me, it’s more of the mental aspect of just staying short, hitting the ball square and (accepting that) where it goes, it goes.”
One evaluator who has seen d’Arnaud many times told Martino, “It makes it so he can’t catch up with the fastball, and if you can’t catch up with a fastball, you’ll get killed up here.”
D’Arnaud, now 25, apparently agrees with that critique, and is on-board with addressing the issue.
“Oh, exactly,” he says. “It’s that distance that the barrel of the bat has to travel, which could be, even if it (costs him) .1 second, the ball has .4 seconds until it comes, so that’s the difference between you making good contact and you fouling it back.”
It’s amazing that after nearly a year, this is only coming out now, or at least getting the attention it deserves considering it’s our number one hitting prospect and our future core player.
This “wrap thing” was not a big deal in the minors because the game is not as fast as the big-leagues so it wasn’t an issue, says d’Arnaud and the scouts. But now it is.
The Mets front office is thrilled by D’Arnaud’s self awareness of the problem. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to resolving a problem.
I love this team. They are so fascinating to follow and write about. But sometimes… never mind.
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)