Last night, Travis d’Arnaud made his return to the Mets after a two week stint in Triple A Las Vegas. And he made his return with a bang. In his second at-bat of the evening d’Arnaud launched a hanging change-up from A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir into the left-field seats.
It was a huge hit for d’Arnaud that got the monkey off his back of getting his first hit since his return. All throughout last night d’Arnaud was taking some really nice swings and standing closer to the plate than he was before.
Now, going forward, the Mets need to find a spot for d’Arnaud in the lineup that can not only help him but help the Mets offense continue to score runs.
One of the biggest problems that plagued d’Arnaud before his demotion, at least in my opinion, was his spot in the lineup. Hitting with the pitcher behind him didn’t help d’Arnaud see good pitches or have an opportunity to get into a rhythm.
The best fit for d’Arnaud is to hit somewhere in the middle of the order. In his entire career in the minors, d’Arnaud always hit for a high average with decent power. He isn’t going to be a 3 or a 4 hitter, but hitting him 5th or 6th with some protection behind him can allow him to continue the hot streak he had in Las Vegas and help this offense.
With guys like Eric Campbell, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada going to hit behind d’Arnaud potentially, there are three guys out of that group that on an everyday basis give the Mets a legitimate threat behind d’Arnaud. That will force pitchers to attack him more and give him more pitches to hit. And because of the success d’Arnaud has had at every level, he will soon break out here in the big leagues.
When that happens (and when Juan Lagares returns from the DL), the top six in the lineup can become viable offensive threats for this team. The top six could look like: Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, d’Arnaud and Duda. Eric Young Jr. seems poised to be the 9th hitter if the Mets continue to hit the pitcher 8th (which has proven to help).
Besides last night, the Mets have struggled at home. The most runs they have scored at home before last night’s explosion was seven on opening day against the Nationals. The Mets need a jolt. It’s why they sent d’Arnaud down to get his head straight. If he can figure it out at the big league level (which it seems to be when, not if), the Mets offense will turn it around. The gears are starting to turn in the right direction as a team, it seems they are very close to rattling off a seven to ten game winning streak that can get them right back into the thick of things and make the summer for the NL East very interesting.