Travis d’Arnaud was a huge disappointment for the New York Mets this past season hitting only .247/.307/.323 in 75 games. His swing has so much going on, and the Mets need to fix it, and fast. He spent time this offseason working with hitting coach Kevin Long rebuilding his batting setup.
This week as pitchers and catchers reported to camp, Long talked to Marc Carig of Newsday.com about the Mets starting catcher. Long told Carig that Travis can “change like the wind sometimes,” he noticed that d’Arnaud’s bat angle and his hand position would change from pitch to pitch last season.
Thus far during the first week of pitchers and catchers, d’Arnaud’s batting routine has looked very different. The drastic bat wrap, sometimes so bad his bat pointed directly at the pitcher, is long gone. To go with that, the long and unneeded leg stride is gone as well. This will hopefully make his swing quicker and more consistent.
Steve Gelbs of SNY provided video evidence of d’Arnaud’s swing in the cages.
Travis told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post earlier in the offseason, “we wanted to eliminate the wrap. We watched a lot of film, too. A lot of the balls I hit well, I thought I was wrapping and I wasn’t actually wrapping. I know now where to start my hands to stay consistent.”
“He just got away from some stuff that had been really beneficial for him in the past,” Long said. d’Arnaud was expected to come in and be the Mets catcher of the future. In the minors, he was a .290 hitter with 206 doubles, 106 home runs, and 441 RBI’s.
Thus far in his MLB career, d’Arnaud has had trouble staying on the field, playing in only 142 games over the past two seasons.
However, when he has been on the field he hasn’t been as productive as expected. He has hit to a career line of .245/.311/.393 with 46 doubles, 30 home runs, and 102 RBIs.
The Mets didn’t go out and acquire a catcher this offseason with hope for some big improvements from the 28-year old backstop. The Mets are hopeful that d’Arnaud can return to the offensive threat he was in 2015 when he hit .268/.340/.485 with a career high 130 wRC+.