Mets360 2017 projection review: Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera & Kevin Plawecki

Our Mets360 preseason projection review series now turns its attention to a trio of catchers in Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera, and Kevin Plawecki. Like the 2017 infield, there were questions surrounding the breakdown of playing time for the team’s catching corp heading into the season. D’Arnaud’s history of injury and poor 2016 combined with Plawecki’s inability to break out meant that, presumably, Rivera would see a fairly significant amount of time behind the dish in 2017. We took a crack at projecting both playing time and performance for all three backstops, which proved to be a bit challenging.

Player PA OPS
d’Arnaud 411 .750
Rivera 198 .612
Plawecki 122 .610

The staff struggled just a bit with playing time projection, but as a group we saw d’Arnaud cracking 400 plate appearances for the first time since 2014. We also projected him to improve his OPS significantly when compared to his poor 2016 season. We didn’t think too highly of Rivera’s or Plawecki’s bats and didn’t see either of them cracking 200 plate appearances, however. Here’s how the catchers actually did, with the best and worst individual projections among our group:

d’Arnaud
PA – 376
Best – Koehler (370)
Worst – Ryan (515)

OPS – .735
Best – Hangley (.735)
Worst – Allison (.640)

Rivera
PA – 237
Best – O’Malley (218)
Worst – Allison (450)

OPS – .736
Best – Hangley (.690)
Worst – Barbieri (.559)

Plawecki
PA – 118
Best – Ryan (90)
Worst – Allison (320)

OPS – .764
Best – Hangley (.725)
Worst – Netter (.490)

Well, this is quite an interesting set of results. We greatly underestimated the offensive performance of both Rivera and Plawecki, with the latter performing the best of the trio. However, we were quite close on plate appearances give or take a few from d’Arnaud and Rivera. What we didn’t foresee was the Mets placing Rivera on waivers and the Cubs claiming him in mid-August, thereby necessitating a call up for Plawecki to finish out the season. Nor did we foresee Plawecki getting the bulk of the starts behind the dish once called up and hitting to the tune of a 137 wRC+. It was a weird season.

If Plawecki truly has turned a corner and d’Arnaud can continuously provide the production he did in 2017, the Mets may actually find themselves with a strong duo behind the plate. Of course, those are pretty big “ifs” for two of the more underwhelming Mets prospects in recent years.

6 comments for “Mets360 2017 projection review: Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera & Kevin Plawecki

  1. Eraff
    January 31, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I find it tough to watch d’Aarnaud catch… and you all already know that I still believe in Plawecki (and now he’s given me 118 ab’s of rock solid evidence!!!)

    The bad attitude toward this grouping is partly skewed to not looking at what’s out there, generally. ,,,and by the way, The Catchers gave you 96 RBI’s last year!!!!

    Sign Me up for that, and go solve another Problem!

  2. January 31, 2018 at 9:15 am

    When we made these, I thought we had overestimated PA but we had 731 for the trio and they actually produced … 731.

    As for ’18, I’m okay with the catching spot, even though I couldn’t tell you who’s going to get the most PAs. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if this becomes the first time in team history that two guys got 300 PA as catchers.

  3. Eraff
    January 31, 2018 at 9:41 am

    The R/R platoon does not thrill, but a Catcher is generally more effective at 125-135 games…and God knows it’s not a sacrifice to sit d’Arnaud’s defense to rest his body and Bat (Are You cuing the Framing Stats, Brian????). So, a Fresh righty bat and Body makes the position stronger every day.

    They could do worse than this at Catcher……. and the stats say it’s better than most would assume.

  4. January 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    It’s always nice to be called out for supplying facts and telling the truth.

    http://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1899871

    This is sorted by FRAA, which takes into account much more than framing, although that’s where TDA earns much of his value. In FRAA, TDA was the 12th-best catcher in MLB last year.

    My opinion is that KP was better after his late-season call-up and I wouldn’t object to anyone who said that the guy he was in September is much more the type of defensive player he is than the one we saw in April/May who couldn’t make a throw to a base without bouncing it.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that KP will be the better defensive catcher going forward. But he wasn’t the better one last year.

  5. Hunter
    January 31, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Lucroy, anybody? Maybe a two year deal, 20 million? Then trade DArnaud.

  6. TJ
    January 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I think I am in agreement with most here in that while the catching could be better, it is better than it looks, and it is better to use the limited resources to address higher priorities.

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