Following these 18 scoreless innings to open the second half of the 2010 season, the New York Mets might be concerned about the balance of the starting lineup. Things on offense should return back to form soon, but at catcher, the Mets could benefit from a more permanent makeover.

With three catchers on the active roster, Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, and Josh Thole have all been splitting time. Barajas as played most of the time, and may actually be a liability at this point.

Barajas’ average has sunk to .235 on the year and struggles to hit unless he gets ahead in the count. Since his quick 11 home runs, his power has seemingly vanished, and fans are rapidly losing confidence in him as his stellar numbers have gravitated. The remedy for this hole in the lineup may already be in place.

Inserting Josh Thole as the starting catcher would add another dimension to the lineup. Thole would be the scrappiest everyday hitter on the team and would certainly be more productive than either Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco.

He might not have the best credentials when it comes to smacking home runs or managing a pitching staff, but Thole is one of the smartest contact hitters to rise through the Mets system in a while. With little to no power, Thole makes up for that with some excellent discipline.

He got off to an extremely slow start in the minors this year. In April he hit just .172, but quickly got his act together and hit over .300 for the next two months in the minors before earning a call-up to the Mets.

His hitting in 11 appearances with the Mets this year speaks for itself. He’s collected ten hits in 20 at bats, while driving in five runs. He’s also 5-7 with runners in scoring position. The Mets must put some stock into Thole in hopes that this hitting will continue in the future.

Thole has great eyes at the plate and knows how to work a count as well as anybody on this Mets roster. He isn’t first pitch-swing-happy like the rest of the Mets, and he has battled back from 0-2 counts to pick up hits on a full count in several instances. He has hit 2-6 this year while behind in the count.

With Thole in the lineup on a regular basis, there will be more flexibility for Manager Jerry Manuel to make adjustments. Thole has the makeup of a number two hitter in a lineup when he is hitting well, and could be bat out of any slot.

In a lineup that could be considered as struggling, Thole’s ability to hit would really stabilize things along side some of the big swingers. If his numbers through 11 games are at all indicative of what he can produce in the long run, Thole must receive a boost in playing time immediately, and the Mets will find themselves with some extra scoring opportunities.

Read more MLB news on