To say that the 2016 season was a disappointing one for Met’s catchers would be a bit of an understatement. Entering the season, catcher seemed to be a position of strength with a healthy Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki with another year of major league experience under his belt. Between injuries and poor play the Mets were forced to look outside the organization for help by picking up Rene Rivera off waivers from the Tamp Bay Rays.
The Mets could really use a bounce back season from the often injured d’Arnaud. To help him regain his form the club has hired Glen Sherlock as a third base coach/catching instructor. Not only did he have a poor offensive season of 4 HR, 15 RBIs, and a .247 batting average, he also had a rough year defensively. Playing in only 75 games he gave up 61 stolen bases, while catching 17 runners. His overall confidence seemed to be a bit off perhaps having to do with multiple injuries and the team leaning more onto newcomer Rivera.
Kevin Plawecki started 2016 as the Mets backup catcher hitting 1 HR with 11 RBIs in 48 games played. He eventually lost his spot to Rivera who stabilized the team’s rotation and added some pop with 6 HR and 26 RBIs in 65 games. He was also solid defensively and became Noah Syndergaard’s personal catcher. He gave up 43 stolen bases while catching 18 runners.
The Mets had a chance to go after Matt Wieters who remains unsigned to take over the position but seems content to begin the season with d’Arnaud entrenched as the starter. They are hoping that the combination of Glen Sherlock taking over as a catching instructor and a healthy offseason will do the trick for d’Arnaud. Rene Rivera was brought back on a 1 year deal for 1.75 million dollars to serve as the team’s backup and insurance policy for d’Arnaud.
Waiting in the minors will be Plawecki, who the team feels will be better served getting full time action at Triple A Las Vegas. Hopefully the hitter friendly environment and frequent at bats will serve him well in the future. The Mets also have a promising young catcher in the minors Tomas Nido.
Tomas Nido had a stellar 2016 season with 7 HR 46 RBI while hitting for a .320 Batting Average in advanced A ball. He was rewarded for his outstanding season by being added to the team’s 40-man roster in November to protect him from the rule five draft. While the soon to be 23- year old catcher may not be quite ready in 2017 he could be someone to watch for a September call and the 2018 season.
The Mets will be looking for an uptick in the offensive output from the catching position. Last season they got a combined 11 HR and 47 RBIs from their catchers. Even with this underwhelming output the team was still able to reach the postseason for a second consecutive season. A better showing from d’Arnaud, along with a healthy and full season from Lucas Duda and David Wright could do wonders for the Mets offense heading into 2017.