It ain’t hard to tell that the New York Metropolitans are clicking, hitting on all cylinders, or doing whatever cliché fits your taste. What was a team totally – and I mean totally – reliant on their young, dominant pitching staff prior to the July trading deadline, is now a true team, capable of dominance on both sides of the ball.
They have been so dominant, in fact (I have seen funny, but astonishingly factual comparisons of the newly configured Mets to the ’27 Yankees), that it is hard to pinpoint one player to rave about.
Yes, Yoenis Cespedes has been as special as advertised since Sandy Alderson turned his many critics to crickets by bringing the immensely talented and confident Cuban to Queens.
The Wilmer Flores story has been great, Curtis Granderson held the team together when times were lean, Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, and Daniel Murphy have stepped up their play greatly of late, and how can I not mention the rookie Michael Conforto, who looks like a superstar in waiting.
I mean, I could probably sing the praises of every guy on the team, at this point.
But, there’s one guy that is rarely talked about anymore, who has quietly been a big part of the Mets’ August success and is sure to be a huge factor in the team’s future; this year and beyond.
Travis d’Arnaud figured to be an important part of this year’s squad prior to the season.
He did not disappoint coming out of the gate. He was batting .317 with a couple home runs before going down for two months during his eleventh game of the season with a broken pinky.
Then, only eight games after returning from the disabled list, he was out again, this time for over a month, due to a sprained left elbow.
D’Arnaud has missed a whopping 76 games this year due to injury. But, he’s been pretty darn good when he’s played.
He’s currently batting .279 with 9 home runs, 30 RBI and a .900 OPS in 162 plate appearances.
However, his .355 OBP puts him at third on the team. He’s second on the team in slugging percentage, behind Cespedes (in 25 games with the Mets), and he trails only Cespedes in team OPS.
If d’Arnaud would have been healthy all season and played 100 of the team’s 128 games, his numbers would project out at 23 home runs and 78 RBIs. That’s pretty darn good.
But, enough of the “what-ifs.”
After predictably struggling a bit after returning from his latest stint on the DL, d’Arnaud is hitting .300 with 4 home runs in the last two weeks. Over his last seven games, he’s batting .429, slugging at .905, with a ridiculous 1.443 OPS.
It looks like he’s rounding back into form.
The 26-year-old is an important, dynamic piece for the Mets and their postseason hopes and prospects. Manager Terry Collins can bat him anywhere in the lineup, 2 through 8. He hits to all fields with sneaky power and does more than a solid job behind the plate and with the pitching staff.
Wait, there’s more.
He’s also a great sportsman and team-guy, as he showed after his home run and exaggerated bat-flip, Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
“It was definitely over the top,” d’Arnaud said about the bat-flip after the game. “I had too much pine tar on my hands. It’s disrespecting the game and that’s not the player I am. I said sorry to as many people as I could before I got to first.”
It’s OK, Travis. If you can stay healthy and continue to do what you’re doing, Mets fans will live with a little cockiness.