With all of the talk about 21 year old starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard that has been swirling through the New York sports media it’s easy to forget that Syndergaard was not the most coveted piece to be brought to the Mets in the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. Travis d’Arnaud was.
d’Arnaud was considered to be a can’t miss offensive catching prospect. In 2013, when he arrived in the Mets organization, there was plenty of reason for optimism before he suffered an injury that shortened his AAA season. In 67 games for Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League, d’Arnaud hit .333, blasted 16 homers and drove in 52 runs in only 67 games for the Mets top affiliate.
After playing only 19 games in Las VEgas in 2013 he was called up to the Majors and made his debut on August 17th. He played 31 games for the big club, but did not produce the kind of offensive numbers that were expected from a prospect as heralded as he is. He hit only .202 with 1 homer and 5 RBI in his stint with the Mets last season.
Needless to say the Mets are still high on the 25 year old back-stop, putting enough faith in his abilities that they have named him the starting catching going in to the 2014 season and have not signed a proven veteran backup, the job is his and his alone.
In my opinion d’Arnaud is the single most interesting position player on the Mets roster right now. If he becomes an offensive star behind the plate for the Mets it will change the dynamic of their lineup drastically. Having a power bat at the catching position is a luxury that few teams have. If he can produce well enough to be slotted into the fifth spot in the lineup behind Curtis Granderson it would provide a big boost to this team’s offensive production, but that is a big if.
d’Arnaud has the pedigree, he was traded as a key piece in a trade for Roy Halladay in Philadelphia and for a reigning Cy Young winner in Dickey, so teams clearly saw promise in this young man. At 25, the time to start fulfilling that promise is now.