Meet The Best Catching Prospect That Nobody Talks About
Last week, when I saw those words in my title leading off a paragraph about Kevin Plawecki, the first thing that came to my mind was that the author was obviously frequenting too many of the the wrong sites. Had he come to Metsmerized for the dope on Plawecki, he may have been talking about him for as long as I have.
That said, Nathaniel Stoltz of FanGraphs puts Plawecki on his list of five sleeper catching prospects and had the following to say about him:
Meet the best catching prospect that nobody’s talking about. You’d think he’d come up in prospect discussions more–Plawecki was picked 35th overall last year out of Purdue and has raked at a .322/.397/.485 clip between Low-A (.314/.390/.494) and High-A (.346/.418/.457) this year, but he remains largely unnoticed by non-Mets fans and hardcore prospect aficionados.
Plawecki has the distinction of being the one player on this list who projects as a legitimate above-average defensive catcher in the big leagues. He sets himself apart from most A-ball catchers with very soft hands and good receiving skills. He’s also gunned down 32% of basestealers this season. Defense will not impede his ascent to the majors–if he hits, he’ll find a catching gig. Sure, d’Arnaud is ahead of him in his current system, but two-way catchers don’t just rot on the vine.
And Plawecki is a legitimate two-way catcher, pairing that defensive ability with all-around offensive skills. He’s a big guy who ropes doubles–he has 30 (!) in 88 games–all over the park, and he has the size to be a potential 15-HR guy (he has seven this year). Plawecki makes an impressive amount of contact (11.4% K%), and could be a high-average hitter; he’ll also draw a decent number of walks.
You don’t need me to tell you that a high-contact player who hits a lot of doubles and a fair amount of homers at the catcher position is quite valuable. Plawecki has a lot of skills in place to make that happen already, and he’s just 22. He could be a fast riser on prospect lists over the next couple of months as people take stock and begin to appreciate his accomplishments and skillset.
After the Mets 2012 draft, my first reaction was that I loved the Plawecki pick more than I did Cecchini. After dealing with the likes of Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, Henry Blanco and Omir Santos, I was ecstatic that at last we had a top rated catcher in our system that scouts loved and that would move fast through the system.
In a later analysis after the Dickey trade, Mitch Petanick wrote:
Plawecki is a guy that makes excellent contact. Through his college career, he had a very low strike out rate, and as stated earlier, had a 1:1 K/BB ratio at Brooklyn last season. I have read a couple of scouting reports that have noted his swing was a little long, but his swing is actually very compact, and he gets his hands through the hitting zone very quickly when he keeps them close to his body.
He has a very level swing, which will lead to a ton of line drives, but it does not generate a ton of backspin on the ball when contact is made, which is why he won’t be a big home run threat. However, he does have solid to gap-to-gap power. T
Everyone has been completely enthralled with the addition to Travis d’Arnaud, but Plawecki is a guy that fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of years. With questions of d’Arnaud’s durability arising, Plawecki is definitely a guy that could find himself behind the plate at Citi Field within the next couple of years.
My view of Plawecki has always been high. I was disappointed that the Mets chose to start him in Savannah rather than St. Lucie as most of you will remember. I wanted him to finish this season in Binghamton, start 2014 in Triple-A and have him on the big league roster by the middle of next season. I still feel that way.
I see in Plawecki as a Paul Lo Duca in his prime and I’m not just talking about his bat – his intensity and demeanor should not be underestimated, nor should his defensive skills behind the plate. I’m so confident in his ability that if I felt we could get a 30+ home run hitting outfielder for Travis d’Arnaud, I’d have no problem pulling the trigger and going with the tough as nails Kevin Plawecki as our catcher of the future. And I said as much in a post before this season ever got underway.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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