Mets C Travis d’Arnaud is the best catching prospect in baseball, according to a recent list published by MiLB.com’s minor league guru Jonathan Mayo.
“If it hadn’t been for some injuries, talk about d’Arnaud as a prospect would have long been a thing of the past and the buzz would be about him as one of the bright young catching stars in the big leagues,” Mayo writes. “When healthy, he has the tools to be a top-flight all-around backstop. He’s agile and athletic with a good arm and has worked hard to improve his throwing. He has the ability to hit for both average and power and is a natural leader behind the plate, skills he should be able to show off in New York soon.”
In 67 games with Triple-A Las Vegas last season, d’Arnaud hit .333 with a .380 OBP, .975 OPS, 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 279 at-bats.
This ranking doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it does a good job in putting d’Arnaud’s talent in perspective. As a true top-flight prospect, d’Arnaud has all the tools to be part of this core going forward. In the aftermath of the trade, I think some fans may have gotten a misconception of d’Arnaud’s profile, specifically his defense. I’ve heard some argue that he has a shaky glove, and from what I’ve seen, that couldn’t be further from the truth. d’Arnaud has clean footwork, an above-average throwing arm, and has drawn acclaim from pitchers as a good receiver. That shouldn’t go unnoticed. His defensive ability, coupled with his power (specifically to the opposite field), is what distinguishes him as a catcher that is also a gifted hitter, as opposed to a hitter who merely came to the position out of necessity. When camp opens next month, all eyes will be on d’Arnaud (and future battery mate Zack Wheeler). Whether it’s Opening Day, the first week of May, or later in the summer, I expect d’Arnaud to make quite an impression in Flushing.