WASHINGTON — DJ Stewart has confronted a selected kind of stress all through his profession. Once thought-about among the best bats of the 2015 draft class, the Mets’ outfielder was taken twenty fifth general by the Baltimore Orioles after wrapping up a standout profession at Florida State.
That first-round tag proved robust to dwell as much as and in some methods and Stewart struggled to determine himself and his bat within the Charm City. Stewart admittedly had a troublesome time dwelling as much as that stress.
“There have been times in my career where I pressed,” Stewart advised the Daily News. “In Baltimore, being a first-round choose, simply sort of letting the stress sort of get to you. And being youthful in my profession at the moment, I didn’t actually know how you can deal with failing in my life for the primary time.
“But I’m fortunate that it did happen because I know how to adjust to it.”
Stewart received a second probability at a big-league profession with the Mets, and it actually seems to be as if he has adjusted fairly properly this time round. Since being referred to as up July 4, Stewart has slashed .265/.348/.622 with 10 dwelling runs and a .971 OPS. Nine of these have are available the previous few weeks, with Stewart proudly owning a 1.247 OPS over his final 16 video games. He’s gotten successful in 4 of his final 5 video games.
A left-handed hitter, Stewart supplies some pop down decrease within the order and will get the ball within the air, as his .296 BABIP would point out. His 92.4 MPH common exit velocity is the best of his profession.
Stewart could possibly be taking part in his approach right into a bench position in 2024.
“Whether it’s in Triple-A or here I’m obviously playing for a job next year,” Stewart mentioned. “But I don’t look too much into what I’m doing here into the future. I try to take it day-by-day and just go out there and help the team and if they see if that they want me back. I would love to be here, but I can’t control that I can only control what I do.”
The Mets have to determine whether or not or not he’s able to persevering with this type of manufacturing. History would present that he isn’t. But then once more, this might lastly be the place the 29-year-old breaks out.
Stewart has been hitting for energy decrease within the lineup and offering some protection. Last week towards the Texas Rangers, Stewart hit two dwelling runs, made a improbable leaping catch on the wall and was hit by a pitch to drive within the profitable run in 10 innings. Defense isn’t his calling card and there have been just a few miscues since he was referred to as up. But by placing him in a bench position or a platoon position — much like how Tommy Pham was used earlier than he was traded — the Mets may be capable to unlock one thing with a once-promising hitter.
“You’ve got to be careful about counting guys out if they’re willing to put in the time and have got an edge to them,” mentioned supervisor Buck Showalter.
You may say Stewart was counted out this season, however it will be extra correct to say he was squeezed out with the outfield just about set earlier than spring coaching. He didn’t hit the way in which he had hoped initially of the season with Triple-A Syracuse. The start of his daughter and a bout with COVID contributed to his gradual begin.
Instead of ready for a pitch he may drive, he was making an attempt to hit each pitch. The hitting coaches had him add a toe-tap which aided him in two methods. It helped along with his timing on the plate and helped him keep again in his stance as a substitute of lunging outward for the ball.
When the outcomes got here, so did his confidence.
“I’m very competent in what I’m doing on the cage,” Stewart mentioned. “It’s putting my swing into the position that I want it to, to be able to cover pitches that I’ve struggled with before. I think when you have the clear mindset that what you’re doing is working for you in the cage that you can just go out there and play, you don’t have to worry about thinking, ‘Oh, if he throws this certain pitch, I’m not gonna be able to get to it,’ or something like that. You’re confident in what you’re doing.”
Maybe the first-round stress that felt so heavy earlier in his profession has eased up and allowed him to bloom later than anticipated. Maybe this was in him all alongside. The Mets should assess whether or not or not that is the case over the ultimate month of the 2023 season.