In an incredibly small sample size, Travis d’Arnaud has yet to live up to the hype that led to him being tabbed as the “catcher of the future” for the Mets. He’s been slowed by two freak injuries over the last two seasons and has shown only flashes during his 241 major league plate appearances.
Part of what has held back d’Arnaud in 2014 is bad luck (he has a ridiculously low .216 BABIP), and part of it is likely the simple fact that he hasn’t yet fully adjusted to the majors.
Since returning from the disabled list five days ago, there’s another thing that has negatively impacted d’Arnaud’s offensive game. He’s been hitting eighth.
Prior to his concussion and stint on the disabled list, d’Arnaud was primarily hitting seventh – not an ideal spot, but much better than his current one.
If the Mets had a loaded offense, an unproven rookie hitting eighth would make sense. However, with the players the Mets are trotting out on a regular basis, having d’Arnaud hitting in front of the pitcher is both nonsensical and detrimental to his development.
There is a growing chorus of Mets fans who are ready to declare d’Arnaud a bust after 241 plate appearances. Some of these fans want the club to make Anthony Recker, a career .199/.273/.350 hitter, the starter in d’Arnaud’s place. Others want the Mets to send d’Arnaud to the minors and replace him with Kevin Plawecki – who would be skipping Triple-A in that scenario.
Here’s what should happen:
- Travis d’Arnaud, with this current incarnation of the roster, should never hit lower than seventh (unless the Mets are in an American League park).
- Management needs to stop toying with the idea of benching d’Arnaud for Recker, something they were reportedly pondering before he suffered his concussion.
Like any prospect, Travis d’Arnaud may not fulfill his potential.
However, 241 at-bats does not a career make.
Travis d’Arnaud should get every opportunity to succeed, and should be put in the best position to do so – something it can be argued isn’t the case right now.