Mets360 2013 projections: John Buck and Travis d’Arnaud

Next up in our projection series is a look at catchers. The Mets figure to open the year with John Buck as their starting catcher but few, if any, believe he’ll be the everyday catcher by September. While every projection is based in part by how much playing time you believe the individual will amass, it seems even more pertinent with Buck. So, today’s projection will actually be two players – Buck and Travis d’Arnaud.

Last year, d’Arnaud was having a tremendous season for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate before coming down with a season-ending knee injury. Unquestionably, he is the catcher of the future. The big question is if the future starts in April, September or someplace in between. Here’s what we think will happen with the catchers for the Mets this year, starting with Buck:

Buck Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs
Gray 240 .245 .310 .413 11 35
Groveman 325 .237 .345 .411 11 38
Hangley 330 .217 .312 .397 7 42
Joura 390 .230 .315 .410 18 48
Koehler 175 .200 .300 .340 4 20
Mcwilliam 460 .237 .307 .413 15 55
Omalley 255 .220 .295 .370 9 30
Parker 400 .215 .310 .360 11 45
Rogan 300 .240 .310 .350 8 35
Rogers 250 .230 .300 .350 10 60
Stack 377 .234 .310 .388 8 37
Vasile 300 .220 .300 .380 10 40
Walendin 428 .262 .320 .418 11 46

Only two writers see Buck amassing 400 PA, although six see him posting an OPS over .700 for the year. Remember that all Mets catchers combined to notch a .567 OPS a year ago. So, let’s now take a look at our forecast for d’Arnaud:

d’Arnaud Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs
Gray 305 .282 .340 .496 10 52
Groveman 65 .259 .308 .433 6 21
Hangley 390 .261 .320 .420 12 58
Joura 125 .220 .261 .407 4 23
Koehler 325 .275 .350 .550 10 40
Mcwilliam 94 .275 .348 .464 4 20
Omalley 385 .250 .300 .410 10 50
Parker 200 .250 .330 .430 7 25
Rogan 261 .260 .340 .405 10 45
Rogers 300 .285 .320 .450 20 85
Stack 420 .281 .365 .481 12 67
Vasile 400 .270 .325 .415 12 50
Walendin 181 .292 .338 .445 6 29

Only one writer predicted a sub-.700 OPS for d’Arnaud and even that one predicted a healthy .187 ISO for the young backstop. It seems safe to say that we are giddy about the prospects for d’Arnaud right off the bat. It will be interesting to see the reception for him if he struggles when he gets his first taste of MLB pitching.

Here’s what the group thinks Buck and d’Arnaud will do in 2013:

The graphic above features d’Arnaud on the left and Buck on the right. After the terrible offensive production from all catchers for the Mets last year, it would be terrific if these two combined for the 19 HR and 84 RBIs that we project for them. In 2012 the Mets received 5 HR and 48 RBIs from their catchers.

Finally, let’s close with a table comparing the Mets360 numbers to those of the projection systems available from FanGraphs:

Buck Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs
Bill James 421 .219 .298 .384 14 50
Mets360 325 .230 .310 .388 10 41
Oliver 482 .229 .313 .384 15 55
Steamer 387 .225 .303 .382 12 42
ZiPS 411 .227 .305 .383 13 50
d’Arnaud Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs
Mets360 265 .275 .330 .433 9 43
Oliver 414 .248 .304 .425 15 54
Steamer 374 .241 .290 .415 13 45
ZiPS 407 .257 .305 .424 13 50

The thing that jumps out immediately is that the Mets360 forecasts allocated playing time based on a realistic basis, while the projection systems did not take this into account. We have the two combined for 590 PA while the next closest is Steamer with 761 combined PA. That’s okay – it’s not really the job of systematic forecasts to predict playing time.

Another interesting thing is how similar our forecast is for Buck compared to the one by Oliver. Actually all of the forecasts are extremely similar for Buck. As for d’Arnaud, we project him to have a higher batting average but the isolated OBP and SLG marks are extremely close. Finally, there was no James projection for d’Arnaud.

Check back Thursday for our next entry in this series.

11 comments for “Mets360 2013 projections: John Buck and Travis d’Arnaud

  1. Name
    February 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Just a suggestion. When you are doing platoons, you should remind each projector what a general number of PA’s someone can get in a season. If you use 4 PA’s a game with 162 is 650. Of course some will pinch hit and backups will also be used, but it should generally be in the 600-650 range.
    I mentioned this because i noticed that some of the projectors are off the mark. Projecting less is OK because one might think that someone else will get some playing time, but projecting more isn’t feasible because there aren’t that many PA’s available. There were 4 extremes: 3 had a combined projection of 700+ PA and 1 had only 390 PA. The other 6 were in the 500-600 range, but i even think the 500 mark is a bit low unless they think that another catcher will get 150 PA.
    Just food for thought.

    • February 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      FWIW – Mets catchers had 601 PA last year. The other seven starting slots had between 660 and 704.

      • Name
        February 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Mets catchers were generally in the 7 or 8 hole last year. I think that Buck/D’arnaud will probably be hitting in the 5-7 spots most of the time so they should be closer to the 650-700 mark, unless someone is forecasting one of them getting hurt.

        The one i was most perplexed by was Groveman’s predicting for d’arnaud, which I now think was a typo. 6 HR’s and 21 rbi’s in 65 PA is kind of much; i think he meant it to be 165? Of course we can wait for him to comment and clear things up.

    • February 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      There will be at least 1 other catcher that will get PAs this year. It will be whoever backs up Buck to start the year, and whoever backs up d’Arnaud when he is brought up (probably Buck). The rest of the plate appearances not captured here would go to them.

      • Name
        February 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

        It all depends on when you think D’arnaud will be brought up (or if you think that one will get injured)
        My general rule of thumb is that a backup catcher will get max of 30-40 PA a month, which 2 starts a week at 4 PA per game.

    • Joe Vasile
      February 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      I’ll admit I was a high in my predictions. I don’t really foresee Buck getting 300 PA this year, but I tend to make my PA predictions based on a “best case scenario.” I think that Buck will, the best case (for him) get 300 PA this year. I also think that d’Arnaud will get 400 PA in his personal best case scenario. This adds up to 700, which will most likely not end up being the case over the course of a full season.

      • Name
        February 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        At least you weren’t as high as Stack, who predicted 797 PA between the two!

        I only mentioned it for the upcoming projections on the OF. Since there probably is going to be a lot of rotating/platooning, just wanted to remind everyone to make sure that their PA make some sort of sense, as that could easily affect other counting stats like HR’s/RBI’s/hits

        • Dan Stack
          February 20, 2013 at 4:36 am

          Yeah, I never factored in the backup catcher who will backing up Buck at the beginning of the season. My bad.

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      In response to the comment above. My projections were based on Buck, another catcher (Recker, Powell) and d’Arnaud getting PA’s.

  2. Metsense
    February 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

    NL Avg: 18 HR, 75 RBI, .722 OPS
    d’Arnaud: AAA Stats 16 HR, 52 RBI, .975 OPS
    Buck: 12 HR, 41 RBI, .644 OPS
    Recker:only 66 MLB AB’s : AAA stats 10 HR, 33 RBI, .789 OPS

    d”Arnard needs to win the starting catcher job sometime in 2013 and at least be an above average catcher in 2013 for the Mets to have any chance at .500 ball.
    Buck may likely be the starting catcher coming into 2013. Hopefully that will not be the case for the whole year. He is overpriced and has seen better years even though he is only 32 YOA. Buck as a backup would be solid enough and if Recker can stick (as third catcher) then his HR threat in late innings off the bench is a plus.
    Recker seemed to be a good minor league player and could catch on as the backup if d”Arnard is not ready. He also is a RH first baseman which could spell Davis.
    Buck makes 6M a year and is only 32YOA. Has he resigned himself to being Travis’ caddy in 2014 at 2M a year or is he hungry to start somewhere at 4M-5M a year? If he is hungry then I see him as a potential .780 OPS 16-20 HR player and traded by July 31st. I expect Travis to be promoted by June 1st (because of free agency rules) and produce better than an average NL catcher, similar to the consensus. Buck I also expect a big year like Rogers predicted, but the end results will be for another team. Recker will slot in nicely as d’Arnaud’s backup.

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