Kevin Plawecki is ready to replace Anthony Recker

First off, kudos to Anthony Recker on a three-run blast that essentially won the game for the Mets on Monday. Now onto why he needs to go.

It is a generally accepted idea that managers don’t expect great things from their backup catchers. What they need is someone who can handle the defense and who knows the pitching staff. Offensive production is usually just icing on the cake. But every cake needs some icing, otherwise it’s a muffin, and who wants that?

Recker has mostly been playing like a muffin. In short, he’s providing nearly zero offense when he plays, and that is just not good enough to keep the job. To be fair his defense at times has been great, but outside of his three RBI home run in Monday’s finale versus the Phillies, he’s been a black hole in the lineup for most of the season, and something has to change.

There has been some musing through the comments section about Recker’s struggles of late, but in case you aren’t a regular reader of those, here’s the scoop. Recker has had five starts since the All-Star break, has been on base once (Monday’s HR), and has six strikeouts. For the year, Recker has a .187/.224/.324 line. The home run yesterday, his big offensive threat, last came on July 6th, and before that April 16th. His strikeout rate stands at 31.7%, and his walk rate at 4.1% Those are muffin numbers, folks.

Meanwhile, Kevin Plawecki is getting it done in the minors. Yes, yes, the minors aren’t the majors. However, he is improving as a player at every level, and that’s what prospects do to earn a job. In Double-A Plawecki hit .326/.378/.487 in 58 games, with six homers and 43 RBI. At Triple-A, he currently has a .238/.319/.405 line. Not fantastic, but more importantly than those numbers is the fact that his K% actually went down from 10.8% to 9.6%, and his BB% went up from 6.4% to 9.6% since being called up to Las Vegas. Granted, it’s been only 26 games as of the writing of this article, but those are encouraging and sustainable numbers.

Bleacher Report did a nice piece about Noah Syndergaard and Plawecki for the Futures Game just a few weeks ago. In that article, they wrote,

“Plawecki should hit for a high batting average, but he would be much more valuable if he worked deeper counts and sacrificed his contact rate for a higher
on-base percentage. Because he is so great at making contact, he often does so early in the count to avoid falling behind and striking out. If he laid off pitches he couldn’t drive, his OBP would rise and so would his offensive value.”

To this writer, that sounds like Plawecki could use a dose of Lucas Duda mojo. Duda was known as an on-base machine until he started being more aggressive at the plate this year. When he did, the power we Mets fans heard about so often was finally on display. He’s now driving the balls he can hit, out of the ballpark. Plawecki essentially needs to do that too, but by cutting down on slapping the ball around the yard. According to Plawecki’s spray chart from MLBfarm.com:

KP Spray

He’s a pull hitter when it comes to power, but he can put the ball in play just about everywhere on the field. This makes Plawecki a perfect candidate to be a backup catcher, because his natural instinct is to put the ball in play rather than take huge hacks that result in strikeouts. If he can refine that swing to aim for more pitches he can drive into the outfield, then he might even put some pressure on Travis d’Arnaud for the starting role. Either way, he’s the better option to play every few days behind the plate than Recker is at this point.

The knock on Plawecki is that his defense is far from superb. That same BR article stated his throwing arm is not great. However, if he can hit enough to compensate, not many will care. Ultimately Plawecki might be traded in order to bring in a shortstop or left fielder. Right now though, he has earned his playing time in the show. The Mets are starting to give their prospects more playing time at the highest level. Sandy Alderson might want to let Plawecki season a bit more at Triple-A, but sooner or later he deserves that call-up.

Now I just hope Recker doesn’t beat me up over that muffin remark.

13 comments for “Kevin Plawecki is ready to replace Anthony Recker

  1. August 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I really don’t think you have to worry about getting beat up Patrick. i’m pretty sure mets 350 is not on the Mets must read list. But I seem to recall that the PCL is a hitters league(then again so is Las Vegas) So if he continues to struggle then wait until after the season is over for the 51′s and bring him up for a looksy. I’d rather have a solid defensive catcher as a back up than a “maybe” good potential hitter.

  2. Name
    August 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

    From that quote you posted, that sounds nothing like Duda. Duda used to be too patient and would let good pitches get called for strikes. From that quote, it says Plawecki is swinging and slapping too much, which sounds a lot more like Murphy.

    His stats are terrible in Vegas, so i wouldn’t call him ready. Also, he doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man this winter so that’s also an impediment.

    We should find a replacement to Recker though. I don’t think I can stand much more of him. Heck, for the sake of change i’d take a look at Centeno for the rest of the year.

  3. Joe Gomes
    August 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Lets not rush Pawleki. It is much better for the Mets to have him playing everyday at Vegas where he can build his value for a possible trade down the line.

  4. August 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

    The last thing the Mets need to do is call up KP so he can sit on the bench and play once a week. He needs to play every day and put up some numbers and make himself even more attractive as a trade chit.

    If Anthony Recker is our biggest problem – we’re in pretty good shape. In two years with the club, the Mets are 40-28 when Recker starts. I’m not saying this is definitive — I’m saying that until they begin having a worse record in games that Recker starts, I’m not going to consider him a problem.

    • Jerry Grote
      August 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      not to mention, a team ERA close to a full run less than TDA.

      All those passed balls, they work on a pitcher’s mind.

    • Chris F
      August 12, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      +1 to Brian and JG

  5. Eraff
    August 12, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Recker has played good D…. a Lefty with a little Bop in the Bat would be a good backup for d’Arnaud—that certainly doesn’t describe Centeno!

    KP needs to hit every day at this point—who knows…maybe he eventually pushes d’Arnaud to LF?

  6. August 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I would like to think that the Mets can find a better LF than what you’re offering.

  7. NormE
    August 12, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Most back-up catchers get shuffled around to different teams or even to the minors.
    Those good enough to be back-ups but not starters last awhile. As Brian Joura noted, the Mets win when Recker plays. The decision to replace him will include looking at his offense and defense, but should also include input from the pitchers, and other knowledgeable sources. Plawecki is still developing. There is no rush to make a judgement in this case.

  8. Rob
    August 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I love all the prior comments. I guess we may be on the right track if we are examining the backup catcher. Recker is good for the team and I remember a time last year when he blocked the plate (the runner stopped dead in his tracks, it looked like an ultra NFL hit). Keep Recker. Find something else to write about.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as it is a violation of our Comment Policy.

    • Patrick Albanesius
      August 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      I’ll do my best Rob.

  9. Rich Holmes
    August 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Your back up catcher needs to be solid defensively, and Recker is just that. Plawecki, from what I read, still needs to get better defensively and that is one of the reasons he is still in AAA. Hopefully, he will develop into a front line catcher at the major league level but his development will be retarded by bringing him up and being d’Arnaud’s back up.

  10. Marc Melton
    August 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The problem with this….I don’t believe Plawecki is a backup. I believe he could start. Having him back-up d’Arnaud right now would be detrimental to his development. He needs the ABs.

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