Travis d’Arnaud is finally turning into the player the New York Mets always thought he would be. Unfortunately for the Mets, this is in his time post-Queens and playing for a division rival.
The New York Mets originally acquired Travis d’Arnaud in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays back in the winter of 2012. d’Arnaud was seen as a solid hitting catcher who could play decent defense, something the team had lacked for years at that time.
d’Arnaud’s time with the Mets was not bad by any means, but he did not live up to the high expectation put on him. His career with the Amazins resulted in parts of seven seasons with a .242/.303/.401/.704 slash line, 47 home runs, and 164 RBI in 407 games and 1,494 plate appearances. He finished 7th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and followed it up nicely in 2015 when he slashed .268/.340/.485/.825 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI in only 67 games and 268 plate appearances.
2018 d’Arnaud only saw 4 games with the Mets as he was diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL in his throwing elbow, resulting in Tommy John surgery. He was tenured a contract for 2019 despite being a question mark coming off surgery where he only appeared in 10 games before being designated for assignment and released. The Los Angeles Dodgers picked him where he played one game and was then purchased by the Tamba Bay Rays.
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It did not take long for d’Arnaud to hit his stride and show the Mets they made a poor decision releasing him so quickly following surgery.
In 92 games and 365 plate appearances for the Rays, he slashed .263/.323/.459/.782 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI which included a 3-homer game. d’Arnaud became a solid piece to a Rays club and helped them reach the Wild Card game which they ended up winning before being eliminated in the ALDS.
Following his strong season with the Rays, d’Arnaud was rewarded with a 2-year $16M contract with the Atlanta Braves.
In the shortened season, d’Arnaud appeared in 44 games and compiled 184 plate appearances hitting .321/.386/.533/.919 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI. d’Arnaud’s strong year helped the Braves win the National League East title.
d’Arnaud’s success is not just him getting lucky this year either, seeing where he ranked with all major leaguers this season in hitting.
His regular-season success transitioned quite well into the postseason as he has constantly come up with clutch hits. In the 3 games against the Miami Marlins for the NLDS, d’Arnaud went 6 for 10 with 2 home runs, 7 RBI, with 3 walks.
In game one of the series, d’Arnaud hit a clutch go-ahead 3-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Braves the lead. In the second game, he hit a missile for a solo home run in the fourth inning to get the Braves their second run of the game. In the third and final game, he hit a 2-run double in the third inning to put the Braves up 3-0.
The Mets always expected d’Arnaud to be a solid hitting catcher, for them and not another team though. For a guy who struggled to stay healthy and was good to him team and fans while in NY, it is nice to see d’Arnaud have success even though it is for a division rival.
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Are you surprised to see d’Arnaud finally reaching his potential?