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Mets: Kevin Plawecki never lived up to the first-round pick expectations

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Kevin Plawecki #26 of the New York Mets runs the bases after his eighth inning three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on June 24, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Kevin Plawecki #26 of the New York Mets runs the bases after his eighth inning three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on June 24, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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At least for now, Kevin Plawecki has played his last game with the New York Mets. This ends an era that never really got started for the former first-round draft pick.

Last weekend, the New York Mets traded Kevin Plawecki to the Cleveland Indians. The necessary move to avoid the need to carry three catchers was a result of tendering a contract to Travis d’Arnaud this past November. I don’t agree with the move, but I’m also not crying over the trade.

To be frank, Plawecki didn’t do much for the Mets.

In 2012, the Mets drafted Plawecki in the first round of the MLB Draft. He went 35th overall, going to New York in the supplemental portion of round one.

Understandably so, with first-round picks, the expectation is high. After all, David Wright went to them 38th overall in the 2001 MLB Draft. Why couldn’t Plawecki accomplish the same feats?

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Well, as we often see, not all first-round picks become stars. Plawecki failed to establish himself as a major league starter in his three seasons with the Mets. Injuries and poor performance certainly played a role in holding him back from a successful stint with the big league club.

Since debuting in 2015, Plawecki hit just .218/.308/.330 for the Mets with 14 home runs in 804 trips to the plate. He logged more games in Triple-A in 2016 and 2017. While with the Las Vegas 51s in each year, he hit .300 or higher while showing good power. This didn’t translate to the major leagues. At best, Plawecki proved he’s a reliable back-up.

One could try to argue that Plawecki never had the opportunity to succeed. Last season was his best opportunity with d’Arnaud dropping out early due to Tommy John Surgery. However, his own injury a day later put an immediate stop to that. When he did return, Plawecki did little to outhit fellow backstop Devin Mesoraco.

By year’s end, Plawecki was batting only .210/.315/.370. While he did show the best power of his career with 7 home runs and 13 doubles, it was not nearly enough to convince management to move forward with him.

I would have preferred the Mets non-tender d’Arnaud and keep Plawecki on as the backup catcher for 2019. He’ll earn less this upcoming season. With the light savings, the Mets could have invested in an upgrade elsewhere.

The organization will move forward without Plawecki, thus ending an era that never really began.

Among first-round picks, the Mets have made this century, only Brandon Nimmo (2011), Dominic Smith (2013), and Michael Conforto (2014) project as possible big leagues in 2019. Gavin Cecchini (2012) has seen some MLB action, but I’m not so sure there’s much room for him going forward.

They still do have Anthony Kay (2016) and David Peterson (2017) waiting in the minor leagues. Considering their weak farm system, either could become a trade casualty this summer if they are in contention.

The Mets will get to see what happens to Plawecki up close this year when the Indians come to Citi Field in late August. A video tribute would be nice, but unfortunately, there aren’t a plethora of Plawecki highlights to make up more than a few seconds.

Next. Who are the greatest Mets players of all-time?

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We wish Plawecki well in Cleveland. Hopefully, he gets the playing time he never seemed to get in New York. First, he’ll have to earn it.

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