Travis d’Arnaud got his first start of the 2018 season at catcher yesterday and he was prepared to make a statement. The catcher went 1-3 with his, as well as the team’s, first home run of the season.
The 29-year old said this regarding his first game of the season as detailed by Fred Kerber of the New York Post:
“Just keep things simple. I get in trouble when I overthink, so [the hitting coaches] told me that today just to keep things simple and I had some good results.”
“Just got a good pitch to hit, 3-2 count. Just made sure I kept my eye on it and fortunately I got a positive result.”
Raise the Apple! Travis d’Arnaud hits the first Mets Home Run of the season! pic.twitter.com/1IiNUgy73d
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) March 31, 2018
As we all know, he and Kevin Plawecki are expected to be part of a 50/50 timeshare at the catcher position this season and so far they have both started one game and done so admirably. Plawecki reached base four times on Thursday.
While it had been speculated recently that Plawecki might get the larger share of the position at some point, d’Arnaud continued his progression that started around the same time Plawecki was recalled late in 2017.
d’Aranud hit .297/.343/.656 with six home runs in September last season and then finished Spring Training with a .333/.442/.667 slash line and three home runs.
While his career .245/.307/.408 line leaves much to be desired, it is important to remember that he has been a solid offensive producer in the past.
In 2015, d’Arnaud had the best year of his career slashing .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers and 41 RBI despite only playing in 67 regular season game.
Could what has happened this Spring and yesterday mean nothing in the end?
However, it is worth noting that there is some reasoning behind the change in fortunes for the backstop. He has been working on his swing since late last season and has been trying to find the ability to repeat his swing without alteration, which he had failed to do in the past.
If he has finally put it all together, though, d’Arnaud might be able to alter the path of his MLB career which could allow us to see the talent that made him a top prospect and the headlining piece of the infamous 2012 R.A. Dickey trade.