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.