David Wright is the kind of player who does what’s best for the team. He’s one of the least selfish athletes that I’ve ever come across. If the Mets decided to only play him in 10 spring training games that’s on them. Wright went along with the “plan” to get him to play as many games as his back condition can handle this season. So when he looks rusty at the plate to start the season against one of the best teams in the game, fans should take it easy on him for the moment.
On Opening Night, Wright went 0-4 and left four runners stranded while striking out twice. His bat looked slow and he wasn’t his old self in the field. He wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t up to his standards. Baseball is about muscle memory and getting the kinks out in the spring. Even the best players need more than the 29 at-bats he had. Spring numbers are irrelevant. Reps are what’s important. He didn’t get enough reps and now he may take a week or two to round into shape.
Manager Terry Collins loves Eric Campbell, the Mets backup third baseman. His career major league batting average is .231 in 363 at-bats. He’s ok in the field but he’s the only player on the roster (besides Wright) who played third base for the Mets this spring. He’s it. If the captain goes down with an injury Campbell slots in. Many were surprised he made the roster. At this point Wilmer Flores or Asdrubal Cabrera could play some third base but how much practice time will they get during the regular season? Teams don’t take a lot of fielding practice anymore. This could turn into an issue as the season rolls on.
The Mets have a lot of games left on the schedule. Most spots on the team look strong, but 3B and catcher could be a problem. Wright isn’t expected to play more than 125 games, most will say he’ll play less. Who fills in for him is a key issue.
On another note while Kevin Plawecki sits on the bench he could be a player who could win a starting spot at some point this season. He’s the Mets best defensive catcher and at the end of the day if Travis d’Arnaud continues to struggle to throw out runners and control passed balls, offense aside, he could lose his job as the everyday backstop. This is another position to watch as the Mets get through the month of April. d’Arnaud went 0-3, had a passed ball, couldn’t beat out a deep ground ball to third base, and was 0-2 with runners in scoring position. He has to be better to keep his job this season.
If you love stories about the Mets and statistics, check out my Mets book Numbers Don’t Lie: The Biggest Numbers in Mets History available on Amazon. You can read a review here.