We all knew the New York Mets would bring up catcher Kevin Plawecki this season. Unfortunately for Travis d’Arnaud, we didn’t think it would be before May.
Opportunities come in the strangest places, and Plawecki got his Tuesday night with d’Arnaud’s fractured right hand. He not only was in the line-up, but will also have the fulltime job until … whenever.
Reportedly, d’Arnaud will be out for at least three weeks. A lot can happen between now and then, but it is hard to believe Plawecki – two hits notwithstanding and his flawless handling of Jon Niese – will light it up in that span to where the Mets will decide he is the answer and d’Arnaud will be thought of in the past tense.
“I think I’ve taken some good strides in the right direction,’’ said Plawecki, who ripped a single to left in the Mets’ four-run fifth for his first major league hit. “Obviously, everything is still a work in progress, but I think I’ve come a long way.’’
It’s great he has confidence, but can we tone down the hysteria just a bit? If Plawecki, who was hitting just .216 with six RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas, is already better than d’Arnaud, he would have been brought up before now.
Manager Terry Collins said the Mets have had a good feeling about Plawecki, and that was before tonight’s 7-1 rout of Atlanta for their ninth straight victory.
“We all felt in spring training that if we lost Travis we would have something coming,” Collins said. “He’s going to be a big league player for a long time.”
However, can we stop with the Wally Pipp analogies? As with Matt Harvey, can we let him do something before putting him into the Hall of Fame? However, if Plawecki plays well, it could lead to some interesting scenarios. For example, would the Mets carry both and send out Anthony Recker?
Would they feel good enough about the impression Plawecki makes to prompt them to trade d’Arnaud? Probably not enough during this season, but perhaps to where it could help shape their off-season strategy.
However, as a catcher, there’s more than at the plate where the Mets are curious about Plawecki’s development. There’s also the matter of his ability to handle pitchers, play defense and throw out potential base stealers.
“I’m happy to get the first one out of the way and that we came out of it with a win,” said Plawecki, who plans to give the ball from his first hit to his parents, who were at the game. “I was happy to be able to contribute, and Niese made it easy for me.”
Plawecki, the Mets’ 2012 first-round pick, also said what most rookies say when they first come up, and that is he’s playing the same game he has been playing his entire life.
Well, not exactly, although tonight was pretty damn close.