Hicksville's Cam Maron calls it the grind -- the exhausting trip through the minors on the path to The Show. But the Mets' catching prospect is right where he wants to be.
"There is a plan for everyone in our organization," said Maron, in his fourth season with the Mets' organization. "You have to be focused on the job and know where it's going to take you. I have been fortunate to be in a system that rewards work ethic and achievement with advancement."
Some might say that Travis d'Arnaud, the Mets' Triple-A prize catching prospect, might be a huge stumbling block to Maron's road to the majors.
But things can change quickly. D'Arnaud is on the disabled list with a fractured left foot. The Mets moved Dave Centeno from Double-A Binghamton to replace him at Las Vegas, creating a domino effect of movement throughout the system.
"You never know," Maron said. "So you have to be prepared."
Maron, currently at the Mets' Class A affiliate in Port St. Lucie, Fla., opened the season with two game-winning hits against the Marlins' Jupiter Hammerheads but fell off and entering Saturday was hitting .221 with a .241 on-base percentage. "The season is a long journey of ups and downs," said Maron, 22. "You have to be able to balance the highs and lows to be successful. I'm very pleased with my progress with the Mets."
Maron was honored with the organization's Sterling Award in 2011 as MVP of the Kingsport Mets.
"It was an incredible feeling to be recognized by the organization," Maron said. "Every year you learn a little bit more and the experience is immeasurable. I'm moving up quickly in the system."
Maron's offseason training regimen and preparedness have helped him accomplish that. The lefthanded hitter batted .300 for Class A Savannah in the South Atlantic League last year.
"We started training in his sophomore year of high school and he's the complete package," said hitting instructor Joe Francisco of Performance Factory in Farmingdale, who played in the Atlanta Braves farm system. "He has the big league makeup. He has the head and the work ethic and the intangibles that don't show up on a radar gun or a stopwatch. I think Mets scout Larry Izzo got a steal here."
Maron has developed into a trusted catcher at Port St. Lucie, where the Mets will play a 140-game season.
He said Mets catching coordinator Bob Natal has worked with him on his defensive skill set. "It's been easier to call games," Maron said.
Maron, a two-time minor-league all-star, has thrown out 21 percent of would-be base-stealers in his minor-league career. Entering Saturday, he had thrown out five runners this season.
"I'm getting five starts a week, so I'll play around 110 games this season,'' he said. "I've developed an excellent relationship with the pitching staff."