Kevin PlaweckiEntering the 2014 season, the Mets knew they had a solid catcher in Travis d’Arnaud, and they also knew they had a solid prospect in Kevin Plawecki. MLB.com rated Plawecki as the eighth best prospect in the Mets’ farm system in their preseason rankings, and now he is second because of a solid season. With the Mets trying to acquire a big name player this offseason via trade, Plawecki may become a valuable trade option. However, he could help this team compete sooner than later if the Mets decide to hold onto him.

Spending his season in both AA Binghamton and AAA Las Vegas, Plawecki had a .309 average, 11 homers and drove in 64 runs, while playing in 101 games. The Mets organization realized Plawecki’s value and production, and awarded him the Double-A Sterling Award, for being the best player at that level. He also drove in a run while playing in the MLB Futures game. Plawecki’s name has been out there, and with his accomplishments this past season, it is easy to see why he would have trade value.

The Mets know their catching situation. d’Arnaud will be the starter, while Anthony Recker will likely be the backup catcher. One main concern the Mets must have with d’Arnaud struggles to stay healthy over the course of a season. This offseason, he had bone spurs removed in his elbow, and is beginning rehab, which will take 6-8 weeks according to CBSsports.com. In the minor leagues, he experienced other injuries including a non-displaced fracture in his foot, bulging discs, and a torn PCL. In 2012, he played in 67 games, and in 2013, he played in 32 games. This is a cause for concern moving forward, and keeping Plawecki around would provide the Mets with insurance is d’Arnaud was to get injured. If d’Arnaud is healthy, there may some room for Plawecki’s bat in the lineup.

The emergence of Lucas Duda becoming a slugging first basemen provided the Mets with a solution at that position. Finishing a season with 30 homers and 92 RBIs is a phenomenal step forward for the 28-year-old. One main flaw in Duda’s season was his inability to hit left-handed pitching. In 125 plate appearances, Duda hit .180 and had an OBP of .264. Although there are names out on the free agent market that may look appealing to help increase production against left-handed pitching, a platoon of Duda and Plawecki may be interesting.

Plawecki has only played 19 games at first base throughout his minor league career, as he has started most games behind the plate as a catcher. However, his production against lefties should not be ignored. In Las Vegas, Plawecki had 43 at-bats against lefties, and hit .372 with an OBP of .417. In Binghamton, he hit .297 in 74 at-bats against lefties. If he could play adequate defense at first base, it seems possible that he could be a platooning option for Duda.

If 2015 is the year the Mets plan on competing for a playoff spot, Plawecki may be able to help the big league roster midway through this season. His ETA (according to MLB.com) is 2015, and if he opens up the season raking at Las Vegas, there is no reason why the Mets should keep him down, especially if he can give d’Arnaud a day off, and increase production at first base. Plawecki can be a solid big league producer, and the Mets should not give him away unless if it is for someone who is game changing.

10 comments on “Kevin Plawecki provides Mets with options

  • TexasGusCC

    A couple of minor points:
    – With his athleticism and since he will need the break from catching, TDA would be a better bet to go to first when Plawecki is catching.
    – Yes, TDA is often hurt, but the injuries are various and possibly more bad luck than bad physical makeup. But, the concussions are not something to be taken lightly and they have started to add up.

    If we were to have the health issue out of the way, the best solution would be to platoon Duda, split the starts and give them some DH time. So, each should have about 100 starts each.

    • James Newman

      I agree that it would be ideal for Travis d’Arnaud to play first base, but he has only played two games in the minor leagues. I’m all for the Mets trying to show him how to play there, but as of now, Plawecki has more experience at first.

      Most of d’Arnaud’s injuries have been bad luck, and that is going to happen as a catcher, and your point on concussions is spot on as well. That’s something to be very concerned about moving forward.

  • pal88

    I agree…keep Plawecki.

  • Cab

    I believe they should platoon Travis and Plaweki between C and 1b against LHP. With Duda playing vs RHP.
    Catchers wear down through season. If we can keep them healthy and fresh, will help through course of season

  • Metsense

    Catcher is a premier position. d’Arnaud had a good second half, but so did Ike one year. I want to see him do it again. Catchers get hurt, banged up, and need more rest than other players. A catcher that can sub at 1B is very valuable because a manager can use him as a late inning pinch hitter in a crucial spot and leave him in the game to protect against a starting catching injury. There are plenty of at bats, as you noted, available at platoon first base, DH, PH and relief catcher.”Plawecki can be a solid big league producer, and the Mets should not give him away unless if it is for someone who is game changing.” I agree, and when Plawecki is ready, he should be promoted and not traded.

    • James Newman

      Great point about d’Arnaud having a great second half. It is a small sample size, but it looked promising (as did Ike). I think keeping Plawecki gives the Mets an insurance plan if d’Arnaud is struggling, although the main hope may be for d’Arnaud to start because he provides more power.

  • Scott Ferguson

    I’m all for Plawecki when he’s ready, but I’m not sure that’s going to be soon. At best he’s probably an after the all star break call up, barring injuries as they’ll want to maximize his arbitration years. That said, we’ll probably see him this year if he isn’t traded as he needs to be added to the 40 man roster. Hopefully Backman gives him some first base reps in Vegas.

    • Frank

      Great point about arbitration. The Mets are known for utilizing the arbitration rules in their benefit. I don’t expect to see him up too soon as a result.

  • Sean Flattery

    Plawecki gives the organization an ace up it’s sleeve at the catching position, which is rare. No need to play that card until they really have too. A nice option to have at the minor league level.

  • Patrick Albanesius

    I’m surprised he hasn’t been a centerpiece in more rumors out there. An offensive catcher is not easy to come by. The Mets have two positions of strength to trade from if needed.

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