Unfortunate circumstances have given New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki a chance to shine. Can he take advantage of the extra playing time?
When the season began, we expected to see New York Mets catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki sure innings behind the plate. The more experienced d’Arnaud would get the majority, with Plawecki over his shoulder hoping to surpass him on the depth chart.
Some doubted this platoon. As I explored just yesterday morning, it wasn’t too bad when compared to other MLB teams.
Sadly, any friendly catching competition in Queens will have to wait. d’Arnaud has been diagnosed with a torn UCL. This could possibly lead to Tommy John Surgery, taking him out of action for a significant period of time.
For Plawecki, this means a golden opportunity to prove himself to the Mets. If successful, he could take over as the starter next year as well.
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The 27-year-old Plawecki has been a part-time player his entire MLB career. Since debuting in 2015, he has seen his plate appearances diminish each season. Last year, however, he did something he hadn’t done before. Plawecki actually finished the year with some positive offensive totals.
In 118 trips to the plate in 2017, Plawecki slashed .260/.364/.400. Numbers like these over a full season would provide the Mets with something they haven’t had for a long time from a catcher.
Was last year a sign of things to come or did Plawecki luck into the best year of his career?
Whatever the case, we’re going to get very familiar with Plawecki this season. Unless the Mets seek out help elsewhere, the job belongs to K.P.
Meet Plawecki’s new backup catcher
Plawecki won’t go on this journey alone. The Mets have called up catching prospect Tomas Nido from the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies to take d’Arnaud’s spot on the roster.
Nido, the Mets’ best catching prospect, will have a chance to make a quick leap to the majors. It’s just in time, too. A day after his promotion, Nido also celebrates his 24th birthday.
Based on his minor league totals, Nido is not someone we should expect to hit MLB pitching well. He’s batting .261/.305/.372 on the farm since his professional career began in 2012. Nido did get 10 at-bats with the Mets last season, picking up three hits in his brief debut.
Rather than hoping for Nido to play well on offense, our expectations should settle on hoping he gives them good defense. Nido is known for his positive play behind the plate. He’ll get a real test in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, Plawecki will get the majority of the playing time for the Mets. Hopefully, Plawecki shines brighter than he has in the past.
If he can hit .240/.300/.370 and throw out some base runners, Plawecki will do himself and the Mets a big favor.