Kevin Plawecki, C
Player Data: Age: 27, B/T: R/R, Free Agency: 2023
Basic Stats: 79 G, 277 PA, 7 HR, .210/.315/.370
Advanced Stats: 96 wRC+, .302 wOBA, .160 ISO, 0.6 fWAR, 1.3 bWAR
Kevin Plawecki produced an eye-opening .885 on-base plus slugging in his final 27 games in 2017 to solidify his role as a major league player going into this year. In 2018, he cemented his role as a valuable backup catcher on for a contending team with significant room to grow.
The Mets’ 2018 Opening Day catcher never fully had an opportunity to seize the full-time job as both he and Travis d’Arnaud suffered injuries in April. When the team acquired Devin Mesoraco to supplement their depleted catching depth, Plawecki was relegated to a backup role for the majority of the season.
Although Plawecki was unable to replicate his late-2017 offensive surge, his 96 wRC+ ranked significantly greater than the 84 wRC+ produced by the average major-league catcher. He produced a career-high 277 plate appearances and offensive numbers to correlate: a career-high seven home runs and 13 doubles highlight his above-average offensive ability behind the dish. He continued to show increased plate discipline with a walk percentage (10.5) greater than his career average (9.5). Furthermore, he showed offensive versatility in his ability to hit both right-handed pitchers (.681 OPS) and left-handed pitchers (.700 OPS) – a trait that will make him all the more valuable for the Mets moving forward.
Plawecki’s -4.6 framing runs show he has significant room to grow behind the plate, but Fangraphs’ 4.6 Def ranks him as an above-average option behind the dish. For a backup catcher he is a perfectly adequate option at an affordable salary.
Plawecki’s continued improvement is encouraging for a Mets team that desperately needs to find consistency at the position; yet, Plawecki’s advancements are not enough to justify his role as an everyday option. If the Mets want to contend in 2018, he will be an ideal complement to a newly-added starting catcher.