Travis d’Arnaud has long been regarded as baseball’s top catching prospect since first appearing on Baseball America’s Top 100 back in 2010. The Phillies’ 2007 first-round pick has already seen himself traded twice in a deal to acquire a reigning Cy Young Award winner and expectations for him have always been high.
Now the property of the New York Mets, the young backstop struggled during his first cup of coffee in 2013, putting up a slash of .202/.286/.263 in 112 plate appearances with a 58 OPS+ and .254 wOBA. D’Arnaud had one home run and a total of just four extra-base hits in his first 99 at-bats.
While not the worst debut in major league history, it was enough to have some fans climbing outside their windows and onto their ledges. Get back inside.
BABIP shows that d’Arnaud was extremely unlucky on balls he put into play last season, and if you watched all the games, you would have seen a lot of crushed baseballs driven to the gap and right into a defender’s glove. Throw in two years of rust and then trying to live up to all the hype, and you can only conclude that this talented young hitter ran into a perfect storm. Expect the real Travis d’Arnaud to make his mark in 2014.
I was reading an article about d’Arnaud on Thursday and was pleased to find some glowing remarks from Jim Callis, formerly of Baseball America, who still believes that TDA is the best catching prospect in the majors, and better than Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres.
Callis says that d’Arnaud shows a good feel for hitting and that his compact swing and all-fields approach should translate to solid batting averages as a major leaguer. While, he believes that d’Arnaud could stand to draw a few more walks, he points out the progress he’s made with his plate discipline as he has risen through the Minors.
It’s the projection time of the year, and Callis says that d’Arnaud very well could produce a batting line of .275/.340/.500 year in and year out in the Major Leagues.
The only knock on d’Arnaud has been his inability to stay healthy. But many a Met fan may remember another top prospect we had who found it difficult to stay on the field in his formative years. Yes, I’m talking about Jose Reyes.
In the end, Callis concludes that with good health d’Arnaud will likely become become the best catcher the Mets have had since Mike Piazza.
Agree or disagree? Let’s hear your arguments…