Travis d’Arnaud returned to the lineup on Thursday night after a nearly two week absence due to concussion like symptoms after being struck on the helmet by a backswing off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.
D’Arnaud, now 25, went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in a continuation of the hitting problems he was having before he was injured.
“I think he’s made big strides defensively,” manager Terry Collins said. “That’s what I’ve said before, he’s come with huge grades offensively and I would certainly like to get that on track.”
Last year’s top ranked catching prospect is hitting .189 with a .265 on base percentage this season with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI over 118 plate appearances.
“At this point you would put him in the overhyped category for sure,” a major league scout told the New York Post before the Mets faced the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
D’Arnaud spoke to the Post’s Mike Puma and told him that he wasn’t happy with his plate approach before his concussion and that he plans to work with new hitting coach Lamar Johnson, who has yet to watch any video of d’Arnaud and has had hardly any exposure with him going back to his first year with the organization.
“I’m going to watch him in the games,” Johnson said. “I like to look at game situations and then we’ll make an evaluation — after I see him in games.”
Collins has expressed concern over d’Arnaud and the catching position in general which ranks next to last in the majors in on-base plus slugging.
“We’ve got to start getting some offense out of our catching position for sure,” said Collins.
“Where he [d'Arnaud] starts to run into trouble is where he’s trying to perhaps pull or hit for some power rather than just put good swings on the ball, because he’s got good strength. We’ve seen that.”
D’Arnaud has a .558 OPS and a 60 OPS+ through his first 230 major league plate appearances.
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)