When Travis d’Arnaud was demoted to the minors, the coaching staff down there had a two-hour talk with him, and he emerged a new man. Well, a new hitter, at least.
Since returning to the Mets on June 24th, d’Arnaud is hitting .295 (18 for 61) with five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI.
D’Arnaud said he needed to clear his head and Frank Viola said the coaches just got him to stop thinking. This riled up a certain subsection of Mets fans who claimed immediately that TDA’s success was due to forgetting about the Philosophy (so capitalized because it’s taken on a life of itself) and just began swinging more.
False. Nonsense. And false nonsense.
Understand something. d’Arnaud’s Pitches per Plate Appearance (PPPA) for the season is 3.54 and his PPPA is 3.52 since his return.
What really happened in Las Vegas is that the coaching staff got him to stop thinking so much about his mechanics and focus on the pitches he was seeing.
The (at the time) season-long slump had gotten in his head and he kept worrying about where his hands were, where his feet were and often made adjustments to his swing, sometimes from plate appearance to plate appearance within the same game.
TDA is a free swinger by nature, so the idea that adhering to a philosophy of taking pitches led to his struggles is two-fold absurd.
First, he clearly wasn’t taking pitches. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, he’d be tied for 14th worst in all of baseball in that category.
And second, he’s seeing the same amount of pitches in his second stint with the big club, but the results have been night and day. All he needed was to change his mindset, not his approach.