The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.
Like most Mets fans, I’m hoping this is the first of many Player of the Week honors (amongst other types of recognition) we see Travis d’Arnaud attain in his time with the Orange and Blue. In four games played, d’Arnaud didn’t exactly have the flashiest week at the plate, but he continued his consistent play, which has impressed everyone in Port St. Lucie. He hit .400 (4-for-10), which included two doubles, two walks, and three runs scored. Despite the fact he’s still headed for Triple-A Las Vegas at the start of the season, the top catching prospect in baseball is still holding his own in Big League camp, putting together a more than respectable .333/.417/.467 line in 30 at-bats.
Although there is some risk in keeping d’Arnaud in MLB camp at this time in the spring, I agree with this move by the Mets, as they’re allowing him as much time as possible to get in sync with all the pitchers that will be heading to Flushing for Opening Day, and he’s done a fantastic job at getting to know each and every one of them. This makes sense since it sounds like d’Arnaud will be making landfall in the Bigs sometime in May or June, which isn’t all that far away. He’s also used John Buck‘s presence in camp to his advantage, attaching himself to his hip, taking in all the wisdom and information he’s allowing him to have.
It’s tough to say at this point whether or not d’Arnaud is the real deal and if he was worth giving up R.A. Dickey over the winter, but he’s already got my vote at this point. He has a real smooth swing and the ball has been jumping off his bat with a lot of power throughout the entire spring. Watching him, Buck, and Anthony Recker hit during camp has made me forget what it was like to have non-power threats behind the plate. No offense to Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, because I’m big fans of them both, but their defense didn’t make up for their lack of offensive ability.
d’Arnaud hasn’t hit a home run yet in Grapefruit League play, but I’m encouraged by the number of doubles he’s hit. As of right now, him and Marlon Byrd share the team lead this spring with four two-baggers each. So, it’s a similar conversation to last season when Daniel Murphy wasn’t hitting any balls out of the park just yet; since he’s hitting doubles, it’s just a matter of time before those line drives to the gaps and down the foul lines end up making their way over the wall.
I’m interested to see how d’Arnaud finishes camp, because he certainly has a gold star from his performance so far, and it’s only a matter of time before we’re rooting for him as he steps to the plate at Citi Field.