Ruben Tejada figured a turnaround might require just a bit more time.
Like many of the Mets, the hits had not been falling for Tejada, who believed he deserved better than a .183 average. After all, he had actually been making solid contact. His assertion had been backed up by publicly available metrics.
According to FanGraphs.com, Tejada boasts an abnormally high line-drive rate of 32.8 percent, though his batting average for balls in play lagged at just .246.
Translation: Tejada's luck is due to turn.
“You don’t control it after you hit it,” Tejada said Wednesday morning, unaware that by day's end he'd run out of time. “You keep working, you keep swinging at good pitches. And I’m waiting for that, you know?”
Batted ball data can vary. And according to sources, the team's own proprietary metrics paint a different picture of Tejada's at-bats. While some Mets could chalk up their results to crummy luck -- it turns out catcher Travis d'Arnaud ranks high on that list -- others such as Tejada have simply failed to make enough solid contact.
Hitting coach David Hudgens said he noticed that Tejada was pressing lately.
“I just think he’s trying a little bit too hard,” Hudgens said. “And he’s swinging at some very marginal pitches.”
Nevertheless, there wasn’t enough evidence to justify waiting on Tejada. So, Wilmer Flores will now get his chance at shortstop at the expense of Tejada, who sources said will remain in the mix albeit in a diminished role.
To get back into the organization’s good graces, Tejada spent much of his winter trying attending a fitness camp in Michigan. Yet he once again finds himself at a crossroads.
“It’s a little bit hard because I want hits,” Tejada said earlier this week. “Everybody wants hits. I don’t want to be frustrated. I don’t want that again because that doesn’t help me with anything. I’ve got to stay in control, get my pitch to hit, come every day with the same mentality, positive. And keep working the same way.”