30 Prospects in 30 Days: Travis d’Arnaud – C – New York Mets
This is my first installment in the 30 for 30 series so a little primer may be in order. I like to analyze a prospect through a few different lenses before reaching a conclusion. I call it the five Ps of prospects. Sometime, I can throw a sixth lens into the ring – my eyes – if I have seen the prospect in person.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Travis d’Arnaud was a 1st round pick (#37 overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 out of Lakewood High School in California. He stands 6’ 2” and weighs 195 pounds as he enters his age 24 season. He swings the bat from the right side.
d’Arnaud was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 in a package for Roy Halladay. In 2012, he was dealt to the New York Mets in a deal to acquire R.A Dickey. That’s two trades and two Cy Young winners.
So, what do the experts say?
Baseball Prospectus sees d’Arnaud as the number two prospect in the Mets farm system for 2013.
Baseball America has steadily pushed d’Arnaud up its top 100 rankings from 81st prior to 2010 to 17th prior to the 2012 season. BA currently rates him as the #2 prospect in the New York Mets system.
Keith Law of ESPN ranks d’Arnaud as the number 14 prospect in all of baseball in his 2013 top 100.
What have we seen so far from d’Arnaud on the field and off? Sadly, d’Arnaud has been off the field more than anyone would like to see as he’s losing valuable development time. His 2012 season was cut short due to a torn PCL. He tore ligaments in his thumb in October 2011 and had a back injury in 2010.
When he’s on the field, he’s blossomed into quite the power hitter producing OPS of .914 and .975 (though PCL-aided) over the last two seasons. He had a huge power breakout in 2011 after not showing much power four minor leagues seasons.
What will d’Arnaud be when he grows up? At his peak d’Arnaud has the pedigree, tools and work ethic to be an All-Star at the major league level. His defense has been praised and he’s shown bursts of power (when healthy) over the last two years. He could see a .280 batting average with enough power to hit 20-25 homeruns and drive in 80 runs. But, as with all catchers, the slog up the hill to stardom may be a bit slower than other hitters.
What can we expect this year from d’Arnaud? In the best case, he rakes all spring long and the Mets have no choice but to put him on the roster and head north with him as their starting catcher. The more likely scenario has d’Arnaud maturing at AAA until the Super Two deadline passes. Then, in early June he gets the call to replace John Buck. I don’t see this as an automatic call up – d’Arnaud will have to perform both offensively and defensively (and stay healthy) at AAA to get the call.
d’Arnaud’s 2013 should see him with 300 plate appearances over about half a season and put up 10-12 HRs and drive in 35 runs while hitting around .260.
Fact to impress your friends: Travis is not the first d’Arnaud to play in organized baseball and won’t be the first to make it to the major leagues. His brother Chase debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.