By Gem Tablak
While many fans may cringe at the thought of having TdA being the Mets full time catcher, we have to remember that he’s only a season removed from him having a pretty good season. Now I know as sports fans we tend to have pretty bad long term memory’s but I do have to admit that I’m a little surprised & disappointed to see the fans give up on the once highly touted catching prospect that was known to be a great MiLB hitter & projected to be a great hitter in the ML level as well.
Now while he was known to be a great hitter in the minors, he also had a reputation with injuries. It was relatively well known that TdA was having issues staying on the field in the Phillies & BlueJays organizations even before he was infamously traded to the Mets as a piece to a package that also included Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Beccerra, & then Veteran catcher John Buck for reigning CY Young award winner R.A. Dickey as well as his personal catcher Josh Thole. Mike Nickeus was thrown into the deal for the Jays as well.
In 2016, TdA had an abysmal season both behind the plate, taking care of his duties as a catcher as well as offensively as he never caught a stride long enough to be a legitimate offensive threat. During the 2016 season, d’ Arnaud has only played 75 games but the real problem is the lack of production he put forth in his 251 AB’s. He ended the season with 4 HR’s & 15 RBI’s, I won’t even bother putting up his slash line because these 2 statistics honestly say it all.
However, in his 2015 season, in which the Mets made it to the World Series, he ended up with a slash of .268/.340/.485 & a .825 OPS while going deep 12 times & driving in 41 RBI’s in another shortened season in which he played less games than he did in the 2016 season, which ended up being 67 games played, 8 less than the 2016 season.
In 2014, d’ Arnaud played the most games in his career in one season at 108. In his 385 AB’s during that season, his slash was .242/.302/.416 with a .718 OPS. While the numbers are nothing extraordinary or anything to write mom about, he still did manage to hit 13 HR’s while driving in 41 runs with 22 doubles, which till today is still a career high.
So while last season is definitely a season to forget offensively, Travis also still has his throwing problems to worry about. While I genuinely believe that there is hope for him offensively, once that arm behind the plate starts to wither, it’s bad news. Hopefully it was more injury related as opposed to a natural regression. So if the Mets ever decide to let TdA play some 1st or LF/RF vs LHP’s, we may end up seeing TdA playing more games, hopefully a rate where he’s move productive then he was in 2016. He’s been an average to above average catcher before, there’s no reason he can’t perform at that level once again. His biggest concern though maybe his struggle behind the plate, if he gets the chance to prove himself to HC Terry Collins or GM Sandy Alderson, it very well may be his last months with the metropolitans.
Corné’s cut: TdA has a terrible season both offensively and defensively. But the Mets will most likely start with d’Arnaud and there are 2 main reasons for that.
The Mets don’t have better options in house. Plawecki at the mlb level has not performed as we expected. The next in line is Tomas Nido, who I personally like a lot but, he is has not played above High-A.
Other reason is that there is not much avaliable in trades or free agentcy. For example I would rather give Travis another change than sign Wieters (who is an ageing catcher who has not played well behind the plate).
So it will be TdA and I do think the Mets should get a veteran good defending back up. Also believe that Travis shoulder injury is a main part of his bad season plus the Mets pitchers did not always helped with holding runners. I do think it got in d’Arnaud’s head that runners went wild on Mets pitching, most of all on Syndergaard. In my opinion, that’s mainly on Noah & not on Travis.
With a new catching coach in Sherlock in house I think it will definitely help Travis on the defensive side and should help him relaxing and working on offense more. I still believe in d’Arnaud espacialy as our 8th hitter in the line-up.