Since Sandy Alderson took over as Mets general manager following the 2010 season, there has been a commitment to shedding the team of its bad contracts and promoting a youth movement. Through various trades, Alderson has energized the franchise with an influx of fresh talent.
He traded Carlos Beltran and received Zack Wheeler. He dealt a reigning Cy Young Award winner in R.A. Dickey and got back Noah Sydergaard and Travis d'Arnaud. Alderson also believed in players like Juan Lagares, who spent his first five professional seasons (2006-2010) bouncing around in the low minors before storming his way through the system after Alderson and his crew took over.
Lagares is now the team's starting centerfielder, playing Gold Glove caliber defense while displaying a strong and accurate arm. Wheeler is also shining at the big league level. Since being promoted in June, Wheeler is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. Syndergaard is progressing as well. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 IP at AA-Binghamton. If he continues at this pace, he will begin the 2014 season at AAA-Las Vegas and should be delighting fans at Citi Field by mid-summer.
That brings us to Travis d'Arnaud. After being considered the top catching prospect in baseball, d'Arnaud's progress has been slowed by a variety of injuries. But d'Arnaud is healthy now and has gone back to being an offensive force, reaching base 38 times in 19 games at Las Vegas. His ability to reach base and hit for power (d'Arnaud has a 1.041 OPS for the 51s) makes him a player to build an offense around. And that building will add a new brick tonight when d'Arnaud makes his major league debut for the Mets.
Since Wheeler made his debut in June, the Mets have gone 31-24. That record has been achieved without d'Arnaud or Syndergaard contributing to the team's success. Wilmer Flores (an Omar Minaya player who didn't make it past Single-A until his fifth professional season - or Alderson's second year with the team) has also made his presence felt on the parent club, driving in nine runs in his first eight games.
Famous crooner Randy Watson once sang "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." As Mets fans, we believe that Wheeler, Syndergaard and Flores are part of that future (not to mention Matt Harvey, whose future looks as bright as his present). Travis d'Arnaud will also become part of that future when he takes the field tonight at Petco Park for his major league debut. Along with the other bright young stars, d'Arnaud has been taught well and will now do his best to lead the way. Where he will lead the team is yet to be seen. But d'Arnaud and the rest of our "children" have a bright future ahead of them. So does the team.
|Travis d'Arnaud - Sexual Chocolate (Photo by Alejandra Villa/Newsday)|