Travis d’Arnaud has been on fire lately, just not for the New York Mets.
The Mets starting catcher to start the season, who was demoted to the Las Vegas 51′s, the club’s AAA affiliate two weeks ago, has absolutely worn out minor league pitching since his arrival. In his 11 games this year in Vegas, d’Arnaud has hit an astounding .432 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in only 44 at bats.
Those aren’t typos, folks.
The same man that looked flat out lost at the plate at the big league level, hitting .180 with three home runs and nine batted in at the major league level in 39 games, and looked completely over matched in doing so, has turned the tables in the minors and been unstoppable in the Pacific Coast League.
The Mets have to bring him back up, keep him up for the remainder of the season, and play him every day regardless of his production. It’s time to find out if d’Arnaud is for real at the highest level. At 25 years old, it’s time for him to either become a reliable pro, or for the Mets to start looking elsewhere for a new starting catcher before the start of next season.
If he is the type of player that his minor league performance suggests he should be, he will find his offensive game before the season ends if he is given the chance. d’Arnaud is a critical component of the team that the Mets are trying to build for the future. He is one of the few highly touted offensive players the team has had in many years, but if he continues to prove he cannot hit effectively at the Major League level the team must move on sooner rather than later.
With the Mets toiling below .500 this season the team has nothing to lose by promoting d’Arnaud and inserting him into the lineup, it makes sense to do so while he is red hot, ensuring his confidence is as high as possible when he steps back into a Major League batters box.
The team is likely playing out the string for this season, but d’Arnaud may be playing out this season for his job going forward. There’s no one that can take it from him on the current roster, nor are the Mets likely to import anyone at the trade deadline, but if he squanders his chance to lock down the Mets catching position for the long term this season, it may be his last.
(Minor League stats courtesy of MiLB.com)