Travis d’Arnaud: The key to the highway

Travis d'Arnaud“I got the key to the Highway
Billed out and bound to go.
I’m gonna leave here running;
Walking is most too slow.”

–Big Bill Broonzy

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.

10 comments for “Travis d’Arnaud: The key to the highway

  1. pal88
    May 6, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I’M still a bit sceptical about his offensive abilities…

  2. May 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Sometimes I’m wondering whether I’m watching the same game as some writers on this board. Travis showed some signs of life at the plate about a week ago, but since has fallen below a 200 average again. He is not making contact, last night on a major hit and run play, that ended in a DP. Defensively he is so so. I really question whether he is ready for the majors, and if his injuries have taken the “wind out of his sail.”

    • Len
      May 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Wilponzi..you are dead on. This guy is being hyped by everyone in the Mets organization, including the TV announcers. The truth is he is overmatched by big league pitching. He hiot a meaningless late game homer in Colorado…get excited over that. All I know is Othe Phillies had him and let him go….what makes anyone
      think the Mets are gonna pluck a plum from the Phils discard pile…not gonna happen

  3. May 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Anyone who knows BBB knows how to play guitar…or so it should be. :)

    I think Travis D is coming around nicely, and his defense has been consistent, and the line drive outs are beginning to drop in. If he stays healthy, he will be exciting to watch.

    • George
      May 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Exciting? Sorta like a typical Met game where they get 4 hits and 11 strikeouts.

  4. eraff
    May 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    A competitive, solid, Long Term Catcher is a real find—and it takes time to settle in to the position, much less the Hitting side of it.

    260-270…. 30-40 XBH…. 60+ RBI… Competent Catching—– that’s a baseline for Catching Success. It’s Not Mauer/Posey or Bust!…and it won’t be immediate.

    I’m hopeful that he can be “similar enough” to Paul LoDuca… LoDuca was 29 when he first gained a full MLB shot—- I believe d’Arnaud may profile as a similar player with a nice long range arc and growth.

    • Metsense
      May 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      You hit the nail on the head. Catching is a premium position and TDA has the pedigree. It just might take some time. Catchers that are above average offensively are a nice luxury and he can be the key to the highway but “its a long and winding road” that leads to the fans hearts. I would give TDA much more time before I would consider him a failure. I expect him ending the season with at least NL catcher average stats.

      • Sean Flattery
        May 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm

        He’ll be fine. Highly touted catching propects (Mauer/Posey excluded) take a little more time than other positions.

        Matt Wieters got off to a very slow start, and he was almost as big a prospect as Mauer. The calling games, handling pitching staff etc. is alot to take in and sometimes takes a backseat to offense in the early years. Let’s cut him a little slack in the early going.

        • Patrick Albanesius
          May 7, 2014 at 9:34 am

          Agree with all three of you. TDA just needs some breathing room to acclimate to this club. It’s his pitching staff, and those relationships don’t magically appear overnight, and neither does great hitting. He is still very much a newbie and should be given more leeway to succeed or fail.

  5. Jim OMalley
    May 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Another point to consider with d’Arnaud is that he will be learning to catch four five new impact pitchers as they begin to migrate from the 51s.

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