Posts Tagged ‘Travis d’Arnaud’

 

By Steven Inmanlucasdudatravisdarnaud2kkhqgxhhwhm

As Met fans, tell me if you’ve heard this before, the Mets ability to score runs consistently, will come down to the success of Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud. The major league careers to date for both players have been roller coasters, with 2016 being hopefully closest to the low point. Both hitters battled injuries and ineffectiveness all of last season to the point where they lost their starting jobs to inferior offensive players, at a time when the Mets really needed more offense. It’s no coincidence that both Duda and d’Arnaud combined for 11 homers, 38 RBI and less than 100 hits while the Mets finished just 25th in runs last season. The two had their best seasons offensively in 2015 where the Mets finished middle of the pack in runs. For the most part, health permitting, the Mets have an idea of what they’re going to get out of Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker. Duda and d’Arnaud when they’re swinging the bats well lengthen the lineup and allow those middle of the order hitters to possibly see an extra plate appearance a game with guys on base.

There isn’t a ton of stability in this Met lineup. Curtis Granderson is getting up there in age, Michael Conforto likely doesn’t have everyday plate appearances after the Mets completely botched the Jay Bruce situation and we all know the issues David Wright is going through to stay healthy. After the poor offensive season this group had as a whole, combined with all the question marks going into 2017, make Duda and d’Arnaud the Mets biggest x-factors offensively in ’17.

Besides the Mets need for these two to perform, 2017 is a HUGE year for both players.

Lucas Duda is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season and the free agent market has recently evolved into one that doesn’t reward all or nothing power hitters. Chris Carter, who tied for the NL lead in homers last season with 42, was non-tendered months ago and now can’t find an everyday job. The same goes for clubhouse favorite Mike Napoli. The Mets can’t even trade slugger Jay Bruce without eating some of his $13M remaining on his contract. Teams don’t value these  less athletic, non-versatile players anymore despite their enormous power. For Lucas Duda to find an everyday job in 2018 and beyond he is going to need to have a career year and show that he is more than just a power threat when healthy. The Mets have top prospects Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith getting closer and closer to the Mets 1st base job so the writing is on the wall for a Duda departure, especially after he turned down a contract extension a few seasons ago. Duda slashed just .229/.302/.412 a season ago but he has put up healthy OBP’s with impressive power numbers in the past. While the Mets need Duda to perform in 2017, he needs a big year even more.

Like Duda, Travis d’Arnaud also badly needs a breakout season. The former top prospect has never been able to stay healthy at the major or minor league level. The backstop has struggled defensively and has shown he is unable to throw out runners to date. There are plenty of offensive minded catchers in the game and there is nothing wrong with that but d’Arnaud hit just .247/.307/.323 last season after a strong 2015. Even when d’Arnaud was healthy he lost at-bats to backup Rene Rivera, who the pitchers preferred to throw to. The two catchers offensive potentials are vastly different but the Mets didn’t seem to regret Rivera taking over for d’Arnaud down the stretch, which is terrifying considering Rivera is a career .213/.264/.332 hitter across 8 major league seasons. It seems as if the Mets are willing to give d’Arnaud another chance as the Mets starting catcher but it would surprise no one if this was his last chance. It’s no secret the Mets were interested in Jonathan Lucroy last summer and were willing to include d’Arnaud in a deal for him. Travis d’Arnaud’s upside is still of an elite offensive catcher (albeit with defensive issues) but the catcher will never be able to show off those skills if he doesn’t stay healthy this year. The Mets are a better and deeper team when d’Arnaud is hitting. Whether or not you believe in RBI as a legit stat, the Mets were 8-2 in ’16 when d’Arnaud drove in a run. The Mets are going to need d’Arnaud to drive in a run (or runs) in more than 10 games if they want to be a decent offensive club.

It’s pretty clear to any baseball fan that the New York Mets will rely heavily on their pitching in 2017 but without Duda and d’Arnaud contributing to this offense the Mets will remain an unbalanced team that will continue to be forced to search for offensive help.

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By Steven Inman

When the Mets got swept by the Nationals last week, Met fans thought that this team was in major trouble due to a lack of offensive firepower. It seemed like no matter who Dusty Baker summoned to the mound for the Nats, they were going to put up a zero. Once the Mets returned home to face the Cubs everything changed. The Mets began clicking offensively and while middle of the order hitters Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker began playing the home run ball again, the key to the Mets recent turnaround is the re-emergence of Travis d’Arnaud.

Bronx, Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees, Mets, Yankee Stadium, Subway Series

While the Mets called up their former spark plug Jose Reyes on Tuesday, the hitter that makes the Mets go now is actually d’Arnaud.

Last season when Travis d’Arnaud returned from the disabled list, the team took off. Yes obviously acquiring Yoenis Cespedes last year and then re-signing him this winter was crucial but this offense just seems to click when the Mets catcher is hitting. The Mets are 10-4 this season when Travis gets a hit, but just 4-7 when he doesn’t. He was 8-13 with a homer and 4 RBI during the Mets 5-game win streak.  Travis d’Arnaud put up 12 homers in just 239 at-bats last season. The backstop recently changed his stance to help him drive the ball better but for Travis it really comes down to him just staying on the field. It’s hard to get into a rhythm offensively when you miss a month or two every year.

Many thought the Mets were fine without d’Arnaud with Kevin Plawecki getting a real shot to be the everyday catcher. Plawecki badly struggled offensively and his throwing behind the plate wasn’t much better than d’Arnaud’s. Rene Rivera has been solid defensively in spot duty and Noah Syndergaard loves throwing to him but the Mets simply need Travis’ bat in the lineup. While d’Arnaud’s defense leaves much to be desired, his offensive potential could give the Mets a solid lineup the rest of the summer, even without making a trade. If #18 can stay healthy the Mets have a shot at catching the Nationals and winning their second straight National League East crown.

By Steven Inman

With less than 2 weeks before Opening Day, the Mets Opening Day roster is pretty much set. The only questions left are with a few injuries along with spots on the bench and the bullpen still to be determined. Here’s how we expect it to all shake out.

The Starting Rotationdownload

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Bartolo Colon
  5. Steven Matz

Matt Harvey has already been named the Mets opening night starter in Kansas City. After a strong 2015 season along with a brilliant performance in WS Game 5 against KC, Harvey has certainly earned the honor of starting opening night.  Jacob deGrom’s wife is expected to give birth around April 5th so Noah Syndergaard will start the second game. If deGrom is back from his expected paternity leave he will likely start Game 3 with 3rd year Met Bartolo Colon and rookie Steven Matz behind him in the rotation.

The Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson RFdownload (1)
  2. Neil Walker 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. David Wright 3B
  6. Michael Conforto LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) is questionable for Opening Day. It is unknown if he will get the at-bats needed this spring to be able to be ready for the season. The Mets seem to believe that he will be ready so we will put him in the starting lineup for now. After releasing Ruben Tejada the Mets don’t have much shortstop depth with major league experience.

If Cabrera is not ready Wilmer Flores will likely step in to the starting lineup at shortstop. The Mets will need Wilmer to play third base a few days a week for the aging David Wright. This could be a very big year for the Mets two youngest starting position players, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto.

The Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familiadownload (2)
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Antonio Bastardo
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Hansel Robles
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Jim Henderson

Terry Collins said a few weeks ago that the first five on this lists already had spots cemented in the Opening Day bullpen. Hansel Robles will be suspended for the KC series but the Mets will not be able to replace him on the roster while he is out. Gilmartin was very solid last year as a long man for the Mets after coming over from the Twins as a Rule 5 pick. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, has regained velocity and looks very sharp this spring. While the Mets can send Henderson to the minors, he has looked very solid and if the Mets believe he can go back to being the reliever he was when he pitched the 9th for Milwaukee, then he certainly would be a fine addition to the Mets bullpen. Other candidates are Erik Goeddel who has been injured most of the spring and Logan Verrett who is likely competing with Gilmartin for the Mets long man role.

The Bench

  1. Wilmer Floresdownload (3)
  2. Juan Lagares
  3. Alejandro De Aza
  4. Kevin Plawecki
  5. Eric Campbell

Thanks to additions to the Mets starting lineup, players that were expected to get major at-bats like De Aza and Flores now become solid and versatile bench players. Flores will help Wright at third and will back up at short and second. Neil Walker didn’t hit lefties much last season so Flores could get at-bats at second vs. lefties. Expect Flores to play a lot this season even though he isn’t an “everyday player” anymore.

While Juan Lagares is a very good center fielder expect him to play some left field as a defensive replacement for Conforto. Terry Collins is wary of moving Cespedes all around the outfield so Lagares may not play much center field while Yoenis is in the game.

The Mets were interested in finding a backup catcher so Kevin Plawecki wouldn’t be sitting on the bench so often but they haven’t found a player they like yet so Kevin stays on this list. The Mets believe an extra 200 plate appearances for Plawecki in the minors would really help his development offensively. Thanks to the trade of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell makes the club as the 25th man. Campbell has struggled in the majors the past few seasons but has had a strong spring and can play the infield and outfield corners. A majority of Terry Collins’ bench can play multiple positions.

With two weeks to go still before the season, injuries can alter this list. On paper this is a very strong roster that should have Citi Field buzzing all summer. Do you agree with this 25-man roster projection?

By Steven Inman

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

With the Mets hanging around the Nationals for first place in the N.L. East there is plenty to be happy about in Metland. However the team has obvious holes up and down the lineup and all of the talk from media and fans has been about what the club should do to fix these offensive problems. While adding a big bat to bolster the lineup couldn’t hurt it isn’t something the club is likely to do so we should simply stop talking about it.

After being no-hit in ugly fashion by Chris Heston, the trade talk around the club will only get louder.

This Met club is at the absolute max their payroll is going to be at for awhile so talking about adding payroll is just a waste of breathe. The team also isn’t going to give up a Steven Matz or a Noah Syndergaard to get that big bat so we really are just wasting our time talking about outside additions.

The Mets will be getting reinforcements when Dilson Herrera and Travis d’Arnaud are activated off the DL this week. If Travis can get into a rhythm and get back to the way he was hitting pre-injury, then that is a huge bat to help a struggling Met offense. It isn’t known if Herrera will be back with the big league club immediately or if he will be optioned to Las Vegas (AAA) for a little while.

Ideally the Mets will get Daniel Murphy back too in the next couple of weeks but the lineup is going to be an issue for the club all year. They aren’t trading Jon Niese or Dillon Gee to acquire the offense they are going to need. That is just a pipe dream as those two pitchers don’t have any value. Any trade involving either pitcher is just to dump salary. If the Mets make anymore offensive changes, expect them to be internal. Maybe things change as we get closer to the trade deadline on July 31st but that is what to expect from the Mets at the moment.

The talk around this team should be about what they do have, and what they are getting back not what they don’t have or what they can’t afford. The Mets have an elite pitching staff and if the club is able to scratch out just four runs that should be enough to win on a majority of nights. It is not ideal but the Giants won multiple championships with great pitching and that ability to scratch out runs, there is no reason the Mets can’t do the same when healthy.

By Steven Inman

April 19th was a very bad  day for the New York Mets

April 19th was a very bad day for the New York Mets (Photo by NY Post)

Before the season we talked about how Travis d’Arnaud needed a hot start more than any other Met and he has done just that. The 26-year old d’Arnaud is hitting .317 with 2 homers and a team leading 10 RBIs. The catcher also started 11 of the Mets 13 games so far.

Perhaps just as importantly, d’Arnaud’s defense has improved as well. In the Marlins series he threw out Dee Gordon twice. Teams would try to run consistently in 2014 when Travis was behind the plate. The catcher has also done a nice job of pitch framing as well.

With all the talk in spring of how great top prospect Kevin Plawecki looks, it was easy to connect the dots. If Travis didn’t play well than they had a suitable replacement for the backstop. Plawecki had a 5 RBI game for the 51’s in Triple-A on Saturday but for the most part has gotten off to a slow start. Plawecki was hitting just .216 in 37 at-bats in Vegas.

Travis d’Arnaud is a big reason why the Mets are in first place two weeks into the year but now because one reliever couldn’t find the strike zone, he is gone indefinitely.

The David Wright injury was a huge blow but this one is far worse as d’Arnaud although still early, was having a breakout year and will be out at least a few months. Kevin Plawecki, who was not playing well in Triple-A will come up and get the first crack at being the Mets #1 catcher while d’Arnaud is down.

Plawecki will be the second player drafted by Sandy Alderson to make his debut with the Mets. The first was Danny Muno last week.

Although the Mets are on an eight game winning streak and seemingly buried the Miami Marlins in the process it was a very somber mood around the clubhouse following the win. While the team has played well on their way to tying a franchise record best 10-3 start, the injuries have piled up and it may be too much to overcome at this point.

After already losing Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin for the season the team then lost David Wright for at least three weeks and now a catcher who could have made his first all-star game this year.

The Mets a half inning earlier also lost key reliever Jerry Blevins to a fractured forearm after he was struck in his pitching arm by a comebacker. Blevins didn’t think it was a big deal before he got the diagnosis as he wanted to stay in the game. Blevins had not allowed a baserunner from the 15 batters he faced in 2015. He was the Mets best reliever through the club’s first 13 games but now they will have to hope Alex Torres can throw enough strikes to get lefties out.

Now it is next man up and if this magical start is to continue than it is going to have to be thanks to unknown players like Kevin Plawecki. The Mets had a similar situation in 2006 when key pitchers like Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez went down and young guys like John Maine stepped up big and helped will the Mets to the best record in the National League and their last playoff berth. Maybe a similar story will ensue but we will now know how much depth the Mets truly have.

Can the Mets hold on and continue to play well?

By Steven Inman

The 2015 season is finally here. Barring some sort of bizarre injury, here is your 2015 Mets Opening Day roster.

Starting pitchers: 

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

1. Bartolo Colon

 2. Jacob deGrom

 3. Matt Harvey

 4. Jonathon Niese 

5. Dillon Gee

This is the order the Mets will go the first couple times through the rotation. The team will start arguably their worst starter on Opening Day in Colon. There are probably many reasons for this but the most public one at the moment is that way Harvey doesn’t start the home opener and will start the second Citi Field game which the Mets believe will maximize ticket sales. This is a clueless, idiotic way to run a franchise IF true, but hey its Opening Day so we won’t harp on the negatives today.

Relievers: 

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

6. Jenrry Mejia

7. Jeurys Familia 

8. Carlos Torres

9. Jerry Blevins

10. Alex Torres

11. Rafael Montero

12. Sean Gilmartin

13. Buddy Carlyle

Sean Gilmartin pitched well as Spring Training came to a close and will not be offered back to the Twins just yet, If he can make it all season on the Mets roster or DL he will become Mets property. The Mets didn’t want to lose Buddy Carlyle either who had an opt-out date coming up so the club elected to keep him and go with 8 relievers, Bobby Parnell and Vic Black will start the year on the DL but both should be ready to contribute at some point in the first half with Black likely ready soon. 

Starting Position Players: 

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

14. Travis d’Arnaud

15. Lucas Duda

16. Daniel Murphy

17.  David Wright

18.  Wilmer Flores

19.  Michael Cuddyer

20.  Juan Lagares 

21. Curtis Granderson

After much debate Daniel Murphy will in fact be ready for Opening Day and will meet his teammates in Washington for Monday’s opener. Terry Collins is planning on moving Murphy down in the order to get him more RBI opportunities but he is probably better off in his usual #2 spot in my opinion. 

Bench: 

22. Anthony Recker

23.  Ruben Tejada

24.  John Mayberry Jr

25. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

With the Mets carrying 8 relievers, they will go with a 4-man bench to start the season. Eric Campbell would have been the 5th man on the bench but was optioned to Vegas instead. Campbell even worked on catching this spring to make himself even more versatile. A four man bench isn’t the Mets brightest idea but it likely won’t stay like this for more than a few weeks. Collins would use Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter should he use the rest of his bench first. 

 

Should be a fun season and Lets Go Mets!

By Steven Inman

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d'Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League Photo by New York Post

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d’Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League
Photo by New York Post

After a horrendous start to his 2014 rookie season, Travis d’Arnaud was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June. The backstop raked down in the minors and was called up just a few short weeks later. When he returned to the big leagues he looked like a completely different offensive player.

Since June 24th, his first game back in the big leagues, D’Arnaud hit .272 (70-257 AB) with ten dingers and 32 RBI in 69 games. He looked significantly more confident at the plate and the results were encouraging. The 26-year old’s overall 2014 numbers were subpar but the Mets have to be hopeful that their starting catcher will perform more like his second half form going forward.
If he isn’t, then he won’t be a Met for much longer.
Former top pick out of Purdue Kevin Plawecki is breathing down the neck of d’Arnaud as 2015 draws closer. Plawecki has been the talk of Met position players so far in camp.
If d’Arnaud wasn’t acquired from the Blue Jays a couple winters ago, then perhaps the Mets would have Plawecki as their 2015 Opening Day catcher.
Instead Plawecki will start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. Plawecki has already shown he can hit for a high average in the minor leagues and is now just waiting for an opportunity in the big leagues. That is why d’Arnaud must get off to a good start offensively. The Mets want Plawecki to play everyday so he won’t make the club as a backup catcher.
Travis is already a work in progress defensively behind the plate after a miserable season framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt. If he gets off to a bad first couple of months with the bat then Sandy Alderson may elect to make a change at this vital position.
Despite already being 26 years old, d’Arnaud is only entering his second full big league season. With the lack of catching talent throughout baseball, d’Arnaud would have a ton of trade value even if he struggles to start the season.
No matter who the Mets decide to choose at catcher going forward, they really shouldn’t drag this out like the team did at first base for years with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. The longer you wait the smaller the chance of getting something significant in a trade.
While d’Arnaud will likely bat towards the bottom of the Met lineup, you can make the case that there is no Met position player with more pressure on him right now. In fact other than Terry Collins, no Met needs a hot start more than d’Arnaud….
How will Travis perform in 2015???