Predicting the Future of a Top Prospect is Never Guaranteed

An article by posted on April 19, 2013
Veteran catcher John Buck gives Travis d'Arnaud some sage advice for the future.

Veteran catcher John Buck gives Travis d’Arnaud some sage advice for the future.

When the Mets made the trade with the Blue Jays over the winter, Travis d’Arnaud was a key component in the trade with high hopes that he would be the Mets catcher of the future. Thrown in the deal was catcher John Buck, who most people probably felt that if Buck played well enough during the first half of the season, the Mets could use him as trade bait for possibly a pitcher. The plan was to have everything set up to have d’Arnaud take over in the second half of the season or maybe even sooner depending on his progression in the minors.

Then the unexpected happens. D’Arnaud’s recent injury has put a wrench in those plans for the Mets at this point. One thing that is going well for the team is the strong start that veteran John Buck has had so far, batting .326, with six home runs, and 19 RBI’s. Buck’s performance softens the blow of the injury to d’Arnaud. For now we can only hope that Buck continues to produce until the Mets top catching prospect makes his way back.

“I feel terrible for Travis,” manager Terry Collins said. “I feel terrible for us.”

The timetable that a prospect is given all depends on his progression in the minors, with the hopes that an injury doesn’t delay the day in which he will be called up to the big league club. But predicting what will happen is just as hard as predicting if he will actually be the player of the future. We’ve been down this road so many times before as Mets fans.

The Mets had every right to think that d’Arnaud was ready to take over their pitching staff based on the accolades he has been given and deservedly so when you look at the offensive numbers he’s posted in his minor league career. Being tabbed the best catching prospect in baseball doesn’t happen by accident in this age of information. If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s this. Being just 24 years old, D’Arnaud’s upside is that he still has youth on his side and time enough to grow into the star many believe he will become.

This baseball and Injuries happen to anyone when you least expect it. This foot injury will certainly delay D’Arnaud’s development, but many believe that even in a worst-case scenario his recovery will not take too long providing it does not require surgery. The plan is to have him examined in New York today to determine if surgery is needed.

If so, then the idea that Buck can bring in a solid pitcher or outfielder via a trade may need to be put on the backburner. The upside of this unfortunate news on d’Arnaud is that Buck is playing well and there is no cause for concern behind the plate for the Mets at this time.

We all hope for some good news today when the results come in from the Hospital for Special Surgery. We all hope that surgery won’t be needed and this amounts to a 4-8 week delay in what is bound to be a solid career for Travis d’Arnaud. In the meantime we’ll get a look at Juan Centeno against tougher competition in Triple-A Las Vegas, and John Buck will continue to hold the fort down for us at Citi Field.

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About the Author ()

David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.

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