Travis d’Arnaud is going to be an exciting player…a quick review of the tag he applied to Matt Carpenter in the 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals during the last home stand should justify that sentiment.
Going into this season, the top of the “to do” list for d’Arnaud was to stay healthy and, so far (knock on wood), he’s accomplished that. Just managing to stay healthy and get his plate appearances is going to do wonders for him shaking any remaining dustballs off of his bat. Even if you favor Kevin Plawecki as a better candidate for the team’s catcher of the future, you will have to wait until d’Arnaud gets his fair share of ABs in a Mets’ uniform.
In Mookie Wilson‘s new book, he talks about the rise of the championship 80’s club and there are snippets throughout about how much excitement and energy the younger players brought to the team (well with the possible exception of Greg Jefferies) and how that helped create a chemistry for success. The current Mets’ team has slowly begun promoting its minor league talent and this could produce its own successful chemistry.
The center of the team will be its pitching and at the core of that pitching will be their primary backstop, Travis d’Arnaud. Certainly you can’t discount Anthony Recker and his contributions but the key to the Mets’ pitching highway is going to be d’Arnaud. Out of the first 30 games played this season, d’Arnaud has started 23 of them. As a team, the Mets have struck out 239 batters and walked 92 batters. There has been some discussions and concerns expressed about the number of wild pitches thrown thus far by the pitching staff. Some of these have been attributed to d’Arnaud’s pitch-framing technique. Yet there are clubs which have more. The Chicago White Sox lead the majors in this department and have thrown 21. The Mets have thrown 13. If you tally up wild pitches and passed balls, the Mets are in twelfth place with 15.
d’Arnaud has begun to contribute offensively. Heading into the series against the Marlins, he had gone 6 for 24 over his past six games and maintained his efficient eye by drawing three walks in the same time frame. And despite some tough losses against Colorado to open up the month of May, the Mets managed to finish the first month of the season with a winning (15-11) record.
He is the key to the highway.