What the heck has gotten into John Buck?

And the streak continues!

For the ninth straight game (hey, maybe I was onto something) to open the season the Mets have hit at least one home run, a streak that is now a new record while besting the 87 squad. Surprisingly leading the charge is the “throw in” in the R.A. Dickey trade, John Buck.

To say that Buck is hot would be a massive understatement. Buck has been everything the Mets hoped for when they got him the Dickey trade and so much more. So far on the season, Buck is sporting a sterling .375/.371/.875 slash line and an astonishing 1.246 OPS. Oh, and Buck has now just happened to hit  a home runs in three consecutive games. Where has this explosion come from?

Buck leads the Mets in batting average, home runs (five-second in the NL), RBI’s (15-first in the NL) and runs (seven-tied with Daniel Murphy).

To think back when he was traded, Buck’s main purpose with the Mets was to be the placeholder for prized catching-prospect Travis d’Arnaud. Well, after his strong start, the Mets can now afford to be patient with d’Arnaud. There is no need to rush d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud could enjoy the extra time in Las Vegas while ironing out the kinks in his game.

Obviously Buck is likely to cool down at some point but he still holds value beyond the ridiculous power numbers he is putting up right now. Buck has a great repertoire with the pitching staff. Buck is as cerebral as it gets, as he loves mentoring and fostering chemistry with the pitching staff. With the start he is off to, Buck’s value has increased tenfold.

I have to admit I did not see this coming. I thought Buck was good for the occasional home run, while calling a solid game-nothing more nothing less. You just have to ride this streak as long as you can and hope Buck can keep it up.

On the flip side, the Mets could be bold and decide to trade him while the iron is hot. With d’Arnaud on the next plane ride away from Las Vegas, this could make sense-especially if the Mets fall from contention in the coming months. (No need to rehash that sentiment since the Mets are off to a decent enough start)

In any event, the presence of Buck has helped boost offensive production from the catching position-something that was clearly lacking last year. In 2012, Mets’ catchers attributed just five home runs in 162 games. Buck has already achieved that feat in nine games. For years the Mets have had an offensive black hole when it came to production from catcher. Between Buck and the impending arrival of d’Arnaud, the Mets should continue to enjoy an offensive renaissance from the catching position.

Buck has become such a fan favorite that he is trending on Twitter and is also the inspiration for a new Mets’ T-shirt.

So in summary, enjoy the ride, stay calm and #BuckUp.

9 comments for “What the heck has gotten into John Buck?

  1. April 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Just hope it’s nothing illegal since Toronto appears to be the northern Miami hot spot. Dan it’s his walk year and it may very well be his last big pay check. Incentive enough? Don’t you think?

  2. Metsense
    April 11, 2013 at 7:48 am

    When d’Arnaud attains enough games to not qualify for free agency a year early , then start exploring trades for Buck.Sure it wou be nice to keep Buck until around June 20th to avoid Super 2 but that is plain cheap and Travis will have been extended like Niese so it really won’t matter. Buck has been great and who would have thought? Buck is 32, not washed up, and does not want to miss a free agency payday so he won’t be around in 2014.Trade him while you can. This also should be a lesson for the front office. Sometimes you trade lower level players and something good happens. If that were applied to the OF last winter then maybe there could have been a Buck like player for the OF. BTW, Buck is the kind of player that I would want if I were a GM, I just see a better future with Travis.

  3. April 11, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Great Post!

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) You might say that Buck’s strong start is raising his value… until you look at his history and the fact that “Water always finds it’s level.” John Buck and Chris Davis are not going to remain prominent MVP candidates for long. Also, the fall to his traditional numbers would be steep. Teams are not going to buy on the promise of two weeks of April baseball.

    2) Fickle fans are now also a problem. You can trade him and promote d’Arnaud, sure! However, before we were going to be comparing d’Arnaud to Josh Thole and Paul Loduca. Fans might become quickly enamored with Buck and be less forgiving of the growing pains associated with prospects.

    3) HGH and PEDs… are totally on everyone’s mind. Here’s the thing though. Buck always had power. He didn’t show up with more muscle and roid rage. He’s been that size for as long as I can remember. What he’s doing now has more to do with making solid contact and being 100% locked in. Could their be steroids? Sure! But it’s just as likely that he’s simply managed to sacrifice a live chicken to Jo-bu.

  4. April 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Buck has a lot of power and he’s off to a great start. I don’t see it continuing at this pace, but I think he’ll have a decent year, although I still consider him a placeholder for d’Arnaud.

  5. Joe Vasile
    April 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Small Sample Size magic. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Name
    April 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Let’s see if there is a need from any team out there.
    I’m just going to toss out the NL East teams.

    NL Central
    Cubs-not expected to contend
    STL-Have Molina
    Mil-Have Lucroy
    Pit-Have Martin
    Cin-Have Hanigan, could use Buck

    NL West
    Ari-Have Montero
    SF-Have Posey
    COL-Have Rosario
    LA-Have Ellis, just brought in Hernandez. unlikely to spend on another backup
    SD-have Hundley

    AL East
    TOR-obviously not
    BAL-Have Wieters
    TB-Have Molina, probably too cheap to spend too
    Yankees-Have Cervelli, potential fit
    Red Sox-Have Salty, backup needed?

    AL Central
    Min-Have Mauer/Doumit
    KC- Have Perez
    Det-Have Avila, maybe would spend on a backup?
    CWS-Have Flowers, could use Buck
    CLE-Have Santana

    AL West
    HOU-not expected to contend
    SEA-Have Montero(and Zunino in the minors)
    TEX-Have AJ, maybe would spend on a backup?
    LAA-Have Ianetta, could use a backup
    OAK-Have Jaso, could use a backup

    So right now the only fit where Buck could be used as a regular is the Yankees.

    Teams that might need him as a backup might be:
    White Sox, Reds, A’s

    And fringe candidates are:
    Detroit, Texas

    So i don’t see a fit to trade Buck now, because any team willing to trade for him now would probably not give up much because they would view him as a backup and most teams are content with their catching situation right now, unless the Mets want to hook up with the Yankees.

    • April 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Gotta see what teams need when d’Arnaud isn’t eligible for Super 2.

      • Dan Stack
        April 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        And by then, injuries could factor into the discussion.

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