Mets: Five areas for improvement in 2017
To say Travis D’Arnaud had a disappointing season for would be an understatement. He not only under-performed, but he was for the most part, abysmal in every facet of the game.
In 2016, d’Arnaud once again started less than 100 games. The difference in 2016 was that it was due more to his performance than his availability. Whereas he was on the DL for a bit in 2016 due to a strained rotator cuff, he did not spend nearly as much time on it as he had in 2015.
In 75 games in 2016, d’Arnaud batted .247 with just 15 extra-base hits for a paltry .323 slugging percentage. This represents a significant drop-off from 2015 when he slugged to a .485 mark. What should have been a breakout year for d’Arnaud quickly devolved into a ugly showing.
Not only was d’Arnaud hard to watch when he was at-bat, his defense was at times, harder to watch.
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While Mets pitchers did a terrible job at holding runners on last year, d’Arnaud many times struggled to make accurate throws to second. Rarely would his throw make it to second on the correct side of the bag to tag the runner. Additionally, there were a number of times where he would call for a pitch that was not working. To put it bluntly, he has been a liability behind the plate.
The Royals exposed d’Arnaud’s weakness so well in the 2015 World Series that the rest of the league took notice. The result in 2016, was so many teams running on the Mets that d’Arnaud hurt his shoulder in the process.
D’Arnaud wasn’t the only disappointment at the catcher position for the Mets in 2016. Kevin Plawecki, when given the opportunity to step in as d’Arnaud rehabbed in June, actually performed more ineptly, batting under .200. Again, Plawecki couldn’t guard much better against the run-game. While his throws to second were more on-line than d’Arnaud’s, they would more often-than not bounce just before reaching second-base.
The catcher position became dire enough for Mets in 2016 that journey-man Renee Rivera ultimately won the job. While Rivera didn’t tear it up at the plate, he put together some solid games offensively, called a good game, and provided the Mets the best defense for the run-game.
Moving into 2017, who do the Mets look to for catcher? The days of penning in d’Arnaud are over. He may be too broken at this point, both physically and mentally. Whatever ailed him last year completely took away his power and there is no telling if he can get it back.
The Mets can live with a soft-hitting catcher if he provides solid defense. With the way this pitching staff holds runners on, they may be better off with a defensive minded catcher. Unfortunately, neither Plawecki or d’Arnaud fit that bill at this point.
Moving into 2017 the Mets need stability behind the plate. It can’t be a question mark anymore and chances have just about run out for two guys that had so much promise. At least with the Mets.