With the All-Star break coming to an end, Mets columnists are busy writing their second half previews. Many of them point to Travis d’Arnaud as one of the key players on the team. That should come as no surprise to readers of this fine website, as I made that proclamation this past winter.
In February I wrote:
The Mets offense could be terrible in 2014. Right now there are only three sure things in the lineup — David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson…
The rest of the lineup is questionable at best. Not much should be expected from Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares (who will likely start over Eric Young). Chris Young and Ike Davis/(Lucas) Duda are huge question marks.
I was pretty much on the mark, except for Granderson’s slow start and the pleasant surprise of Lagares’s bat. Even though he is hitting better, Duda is and always will be a question mark.
I wrote then that Travis d’Arnaud needs to join the “sure thing” club, and it is still true. Easy outs litter the Mets lineup. With d’Arnaud hitting well, the lineup is lengthened by one more batter, making it more difficult for opposing pitchers.
Certainly Duda is important (he was my key for 2013, and looked how that worked out), but I have learned not to expect anything from him. Any production is just a bonus. But Travis d’Arnaud is different; he was traded for a Cy Young Award winner and is supposed to be a cornerstone of this franchise moving forward. He has to hit.
It is no surprise that the Mets have been playing better since d’Arnaud’s recall and subsequently rediscovering his hitting stroke. He is crucial to the lineup. It is nice that the so-called “experts” are just coming around to that — a few months after some stupid blogger did.