It’s like Groundhog Day except no one is laughing.
When d’Arnaud is on the field, he’s a terrific catcher. He’s good defensively, and he’s a very solid hitter. However, he has trouble staying on the field. Call it bad luck or him being injury prone, but the fact remains, he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time on the disabled list. Now, he has a shoulder injury, and there’s no telling when he can return to the Mets. He reportedly suffered this latest injury while throwing to second base to prevent a stolen base. One of five such throws that day, all five baserunners were safe.
In TDA’s place is sophomore Kevin Plawecki, who is squandering his chance to become the Mets starting catcher again. Last year, he hit a woeful .219/.280/.296 in 73 games. There were reasons from that stemming from his being rushed to the majors and along with a serious case of dizziness. However, last year, he got some major league experience and time to work with a terrific hitting coach in Kevin Long. He had offseason sinus surgery to alleviate his dizziness issues. Despite all of that, we’re seeing more of the same from the young backstop.
Plawecki has hit .167/.348/.167 since d’Arnaud’s injury and .176 with a .510 OPS overall this season. Yes, it’s a very small sample size at 42 plate appearances, but he hasn’t shown any improvement since last year. He still can’t hit the breaking ball. He’s still a pull hitter who doesn’t hit the ball hard. In short, Plawecki is still overmatched by major league pitching.
If this continues, the Mets are going to have a hole at catcher they are going to have to address.
Until such time, the Mets are going to have to continue to try to develop Plawecki at the major league level. Ironically, Terry Collins previously said the Mets can’t develop players at the major league level because the Mets are a win-now team. It was his justification for not wanting to play Michael Conforto against lefties. In this case, the Mets have no choice.
Some likely targets at the trade deadline could be Jonathan Lucroy, who is a good offensive and defensive catcher on the last year of his deal. However, with the Carlos Gomez debacle of yesteryear, it’s hard to imagine the Mets and Brewers pulling the trigger on a trade again this year. Or maybe they can.
Whatever the answer may be the Mets are going to have to find it fast. Sooner or later, d’Arnaud is going to have to stay on the field, and Plawecki is going to have to hit major league pitching. They are probably the weak link in what is a very well constructed win-now team. This team can certainly make the post season and go onto win the World Series. Hopefully, the catching situation won’t jeopardize or stand in the way of that.
Are you confident in the Mets’ catching corps going forward, or is this something you’d like to see the front office address at or before the trade deadline? Do you still consider Plawecki or d’Arnaud the catcher of the future?