We’ve hit most of the big boys in the projection series. Now, more so than ever, everything revolves around playing time. There are so many moving parts to the story, ones that are likely interconnected. So, we’ll be doing multiple people at a time, starting with today’s catcher entry.
Travis d’Arnaud can’t stay healthy and last year when he did play he wasn’t very good. Rene Rivera is a good defensive player but other than running into an occasional homer, he doesn’t offer much with a bat in his hands. And there’s Kevin Plawecki, too. Here are our individual forecasts for this trio:
Last year Mets catchers totaled 623 PA. The most by any position was the 722 turned in by right fielders, buoyed by Curtis Granderson leading off a fair number of times. As a group, we struggled some with this concept, especially as it’s highly unlikely any of these guys will see time at another position, and that includes designated hitter. Sure, they may get a handful of pinch-hitting appearances. And we can hope that the offense will score more runs, leading to more PA for everyone. But there’s no way this trio should account for 700 PA.
Focusing on individual players, it’s a bit of a surprise that no one expected fewer than 350 PA for d’Arnaud. Five people had him reaching at least 400 and Mike R. had him with 515. Our production was all over the map, too. Neither Dalton nor Jim saw him cracking a .700 OPS. Meanwhile, eight of us saw him comfortably in the 700s and Chris is the most optimistic with an .811 forecast.
Only one person saw either Rivera or Plawecki cracking a .700 OPS, with Charlie expecting Plawecki to post a .725 OPS. Five of us saw him failing to reach the .600 level, with Matt suggesting he wouldn’t even crack a .500 mark, albeit in just 50 PA. No one really sees Rivera as much of a threat. For his sake, too bad we didn’t ask about controlling the running game.
Here is our group forecast for the catching trio:
After what we saw last year, it seems most Mets fans would be happy if any of the three catchers delivered the .750 OPS in 411 PA that we project for d’Arnaud. Let’s look at the projections from the computer models:
Compared to the computers, we’re very optimistic on d’Arnaud, about right on Rivera and pessimistic on Plawecki.
The ZiPS comp for d’Arnaud is Randy Hundley, who was extremely durable for four straight years and then never again able to reach those earlier heights. Mets fans probably know him better as the father of Todd Hundley. The comp for Rivera is Nelson Santovenia, a Cuban player from an era when we didn’t have many people from there. For Plawecki, the comp is Jason Jaramillo, who played with the Pirates from 2009-2011 but who has already been erased from my memory banks.
Check back Saturday when we project some infielders.