Plawecki has been tearing up Triple-A pitching since his recent demotion and is out of options after this season
The New York Mets have been shipping off veterans left and right as expected. 2017 has been a wash and this off-season is going to be one of the more important ones for this franchise in a while with many decisions to be made.
There is one decision that should involve a current precursor: calling up Kevin Plawecki.
I liked the idea of Rene Rivera coming back at the beginning of the season when the team was slated to contend for a playoff spot. He’s a very capable backup as a defensive minded catcher who has thrown out runners at a career 36 percent rate. He was slated to be Noah Syndergaard’s personal catcher after the two clicked last season. You all obviously know that never got to materialize.
Fast forward to now and the fast start Rivera was off to at the plate has been erased. Entering Wednesday, he is hitting a minuscule .153 since June and has just three hits in his last 31 at-bats. Rivera’s arm has still been fine behind the plate (38 percent of runners caught stealing). The reality is he was a short-term option and the Mets need to find out once and for all if Plawecki can be a backup at the big league level.
Plawecki was fast-tracked to the Majors with hardly any time in Triple-A. The results at the plate haven’t been good in his stints since (.206 batting average in 131 games), but Plawecki has seemed to settle into a comfort zone since his most recent demotion in late May.
He is hitting .342 in 52 games with Las Vegas since being sent down. Another impressive stat is Plawecki has more RBI (37) than strikeouts (33) in that span. In August alone, he has driven in eight runs in ten games.
This year could be it for Plawecki. He’s out of options after this season so now is the perfect time to give him as extended a look at the plate and behind it as possible. The Mets could re-evaluate from there what their plan will be with Travis d’Arnaud still under control for two more seasons. It’s hard to find productive hitting catchers and there won’t be much to choose from in free agency in that regard. Alex Avila and Jonathan Lucroy are probably the best hitting options among potential free agent catchers.
No experiment the rest of this season is harmful anyway with the Mets well out of contention. Now is the perfect time to solve the issue of whether Plawecki, a former 35th overall draft pick, has put the pieces of the puzzle together or is a quad-A player.