Travis d’Arnaud, catcher, New York Mets
In three full big-league seasons, New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has yet to play more than 108 games. The talent was always there, it was just health keeping d’Arnaud back from stardom. Until last season, that is, when d’Arnaud hit .247/.307/.323 in 276 plate appearances.
At age 28, d’Arnaud has to prove that 2016 was a fluke and that he can be behind the plate for an entire season.
There is some evidence for the former, as d’Arnaud’s ground ball rate rocketed up 52.2 percent last season from 37.0 percent in 2015. That jump is inconsistent with the rest of his career and likely the result of a small sample size. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see d’Arnaud return to form and slug .485 again in 2017.
However, the injuries are another question entirely. D’Arnaud hasn’t come close to staying healthy for a full season yet, and he’s closer to the end of his prime than the beginning. The Mets shouldn’t be happy with starting Rene Rivera or Kevin Plawecki behind the plate 80-100 times a year. If they have to do it again, the team may look at moving on from d’Arnaud.
D’Arnaud has injured nearly every part of his body. A healthy season would go a long way toward ensuring his place as the Mets’ starting catcher for years to come.