Travis d’Arnaud‘s 2013 was limited due to a freak injury to his foot, but the prized catcher who was acquired from Toronto as part of the R.A. Dickey trade was able to make a strong impression when he did make his Mets debut late in the campaign.
Although d’Arnaud’s offensive numbers in an incredibly small sample size in the majors weren’t shiny, he excelled in three other extremely important areas.
After making his debut in the bigs, d’Arnaud impressed the pitching staff with the way he handled the game-calling, his defense, and especially with his pitch-framing ability.
Now that he’s a lock to be the starting catcher from day one, and since he has his debut under his belt, d’Arnaud’s offense should come around. He isn’t viewed as one of the best catching prospects in baseball for no reason.
While d’Arnaud focuses on cementing himself behind the plate and at the plate during his second season, he’s also displaying a refreshingly brash attitude. On the Mets’ chances in 2014, d’Arnaud had the following to say:
We’re looking good this year and I think we are going to do some amazing things. I expect a lot from this team. I expect us to play hard, and ultimately win and try to make [the] playoffs, that’s what I want to do. I want to make the playoffs, win a World Series and I want to get a ring.
Those comments are bold, and it’s great that d’Arnaud has the confidence necessary to say such things.
The last catcher the Mets had who was comfortable making such declarations was Paul LoDuca, who also happened to be on the last Mets team that made the playoffs.
Keeping things in perspective, it’s important to note that many players exude optimism during the spring. However, d’Arnaud is known for his competitive fire and great makeup (aside from his on the field tools). So, these comments from him are likely an example of his regular personality, not the result of spring optimism.
The fact that d’Arnaud is comfortable enough to speak up about his team’s chances is a great sign that he’s settling in and calm – which should only help him become the player the Mets hope he can be. If that happens, the Mets may have their catcher for the next decade.