Mets’ Trayce Thompson impresses with grand slam against lefty Robert Garcia

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If Trayce Thompson is looking to make a good first impression, a grand slam should do the trick.

Thompson, who is in major league camp under a minor league agreement, hit his first home run of the spring to left field with two outs and the bases loaded in the Mets’ 6-3 victory over the Nationals on Monday.

Treyce, the younger brother of Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson, probably won’t have a starting roster spot in the outfield barring an injury, but he’s locked in with a team that is certain to get him a spot at some point this season. Trying to.

Trayce Thompson (43) hit a grand slam in the third inning against the Washington Nationals, followed by a grand slam. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

The 32-year-old has had a strong season but hasn’t really gotten over it.

Last year, he played in 72 games with the Dodgers and White Sox, batting .163 and OPS .579.

The right-handed hitter with solid pop — he hit 13 home runs in 80 games in 2022 — has strangely done much better against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers in his career. I’m leaving it behind.

During his ’22 break, he killed right-handed pitchers (1.010 OPS) and struggled against left-handed pitchers (.621 OPS).

Last season with the Dodgers, Thompson often faced left-handed pitchers and was often in the batting lineup, but he continued to struggle.

Monday’s Grand Slam was against left-handed Robert Garcia, which was probably a good sign for him.

Mets left fielder Trayce Thompson is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam against the Washington Nationals.
Mets left fielder Trayce Thompson is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam against the Washington Nationals. Jim Russol-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve made a lot of adjustments, I’ve put in a lot of effort. I know I can do it,” Thompson said of hitting left-handed hitters. “It feels really good to hit the ball hard in the early spring. I know I can do it.”

Jeff McNeil has not played in the first three games of the Grapefruit League season, but coach Carlos Mendoza said he will likely start playing in the first week of March.

McNeil is slowly recovering from a two-month break this offseason with a partially torn UCL.

Drew Gilbert, a promising prospect, started in center field and was 0-for-3 with one walk and a strikeout.

The 23-year-old has the speed to remain in center field even if he reaches the majors, but his strong arm could eventually lead him to move to right field. Mendoza said during camp that the Mets would keep him under center.

“But he’s a player who can also play corner,” Mendoza said. “He can play anywhere. He’s got the speed. He’s got the arm. And he’s a gamer. … A special player, a special talent. He can play all three positions.”

Darryl Strawberry reported that he is camping in Port St. Lucie and will be serving as a guest instructor through Saturday.