After shots in 2015 and 2016, Kevin Plawecki turned a corner after being promoted from Triple-A by the Mets in August.
In his final 26 games of the season, the catcher went 23-for-75 (.307) with four doubles, three homers, nine RBI and 12 walks while splitting time with Travis d’Arnaud.
After the Mets granted Rene Rivera to the Chicago Cubs off a waiver claim, Plawecki got his chance and made a mark at the major league level, prompting general manager Sandy Alderson to feel content with the catching situation going into next year.
“I think first of all, d’Arnaud, over the course of the season has improved,” Alderson said. “Some of the more esoteric metrics that we look at indicate that…And I think Plawecki did himself a tremendous service going to (Triple-A) Las Vegas and applying himself and recognizing that he didn’t have to simply accept a backup role going forward as a major-league catcher and that he could work toward the possibility of being an everyday guy.”
His results in 2015 and 2016 were less than favorable, with the 26-year-old hitting just .219/.280/.296 and .197/.298/.265, respectively. Even earlier in the season, Plawecki struggled to see results at the plate.
After his hot streak to end the year, he was able to finish the season with a .260/.364/.400 clip while looking rejuvenated and confident at the dish.
“I was pressing a little too much, to be honest, and maybe swinging at some pitches that I normally am not comfortable swinging at, just to try to make some things happen,” Plawecki said. “And what has been different this time is just trusting what I have been doing all season down there and not having that thought in the back of my head, ‘How long am I going to be here and how big of a window do I have to prove myself?’”
The former first round pick has always had a knack for hitting, especially in the minors where he hit 44 long balls and drove in 265 runs while hitting .297/.364/.451 in 458 games during parts of six seasons.
“There’s guys, after they have had a little taste of the big leagues, they go down and wait for the phone to ring,” former manager Terry Collins said. “Kevin went down and made the phone ring, and that is what you are supposed to do. Now he’s in a situation, I thought he’s done a nice job with game preparation, pitch selection and he’s throwing better than I have ever seen him throw.
“He went down and worked at it and now you have got to say how much is he going to play, and he will dictate that by the way he plays, and he’s played very well.”
With catching thin all around baseball, it makes sense that the Mets are choosing to stick with their current tandem. For Plawecki, he can breathe easy and carry his good fortunes into next season and build off them to be the hitter he has shown he can be.