Recapping Week 1 With The Mets
After one week, the Mets are 2-4, which is neither impressive nor statistically significant.
And right now their biggest problem is neither the competition for first base—Lucas Duda won Friday night’s game against the Reds with a pair of home runs, and Ike Davis won Saturday’s with a ninth-inning grand slam—nor the fact that Ruben Tejada remains the shortstop by default.
Davis and Duda might be able to co-exist for awhile on the roster. It will be nice for the Mets to have a legitimate lefty power bat on the bench, no matter which one is not starting. Tejada still does not put forth an especially inspired effort, but he has neither looked hopeless at the plate nor incompetent in the field so far.
The Mets’ starting pitching remains the strongest area of the team, a notion that Week 1 did nothing to alter. Every Met starting pitcher gave a performance that was, at the very least, credible, and, in the case of Jenrry Mejia on a cold, misty and ridiculously inclement night, a whole lot better than merely credible. Mejia struck out eight in six brilliant innings, and can be excused for walking five on a night so cold that it was hard to feel one’s fingers, let alone grip the ball.
But, perhaps the biggest Met concern right now is neither the unproven bullpen, which was awful in the Washington series and then pretty good in the Cincinnati series (and which will no definitely be without Bobby Parnell for the entire season as he undergoes Tommy John surgery), nor the lack of offense and the abundance of strikeouts, since those were things that were pretty much expected—even if the rate at which the Mets are striking out borders on the preposterous.
No, right now the biggest concern might be that the Mets gifted the starting catching position to Travis d’Arnaud as a downright entitlement, not even pretending that there was any competition for the spot during spring training, and d’Arnaud went through the first week of the season hitless. Yes, he did fly out to the warning track in his last at-bat against the Reds Sunday. But d’Arnaud doesn’t have a hit yet. And he had very few authoritative swings in batting .203 over the last six weeks of 2013 after the Mets brought him to the major leagues.
Beyond that, d’Arnaud has not looked especially solid defensively behind the plate—unless one wants to allow partial credit for his handling of the starting pitchers, who’ve performed well. At the same time, Anthony Recker threw out the Reds’ Billy Hamilton—the fastest man on earth, if you hadn’t heard—with a perfect throw on Friday night. Recker’s not a good hitter, either. He can crush a mistake 400 feet every once in awhile, though, and doesn’t seem an appreciably worse option than d’Arnaud behind the plate right now.
At some point soon, d’Arnaud will have to hit, at least a little bit, or the Mets will have to make a decision about how long they can continue to carry a rookie whose only value presently is the speculation that scouts (who are never wrong) love him. Anthony Recker is not a starting catcher. But that doesn’t mean Travis d’Arnaud is ready to be one either.