Travis d'Arnaud 1 (Baron)

Travis d’Arnaud could be the best catching prospect in baseball

MLB.com’s Jim Callis believes Travis d’Arnaud is the best catching prospect in baseball, whereas MiLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo prefers Padres C Austin Hedges.

“Scouts remain bullish on d’Arnaud because he has the potential to contribute offensively and defensively like few backstops can,” Callis writes in MLB.com’s Pipeline Perspectives series. “That’s what makes him the game’s top catching prospect.”

Mayo says he simply prefers Hedges because of his superior defensive skills. However, he points out, “the main reason I wouldn’t take d’Arnaud is the fact that he should have graduated off of prospect lists long ago.”

MLB.com ranked d’Arnaud as the game’s 20th best overall prospect in baseball. Hedges ranked 34.

Michael Baron, Contributor

The gripe about d’Arnaud’s health isn’t unfounded. He has missed significant time due to these leg injuries and it slowed his arrival to the big leagues, potentially by a full season, if not more. The front office has expressed concern about d’Arnaud’s durability, although his most recent injuries weren’t the result of a chronic condition, and more of a standard baseball injury.

When healthy, d’Arnaud has produced in the minor leagues. He got off to a slow start upon being promoted to the big leagues last summer, but he did show flashes of his talent,  an indication of what he’s capable of doing if he can stay on the field. On top of that, every pitcher on the staff loved throwing to d’Arnaud, thought he was a great receiver, and called a good game. He is a student of catching and cares very much about his craft.


Read More: Callis on d’Arnaud and Mayo on Hedges

74 comments
eric88
eric88

Wilmer Flores is going to be the best hitter, an RBI Machine and 2 1/2 years younger. Why are they still carrying IKE, DUDA ,and 5 mil, get a SS.  Stop dragging Flores all over the infield. Put him at 1st, and leave him there everyday, he will rake.

David Collazo
David Collazo

At almost 25(feb 10), I think he should no longer be considered a "prospect"...! Time for him to put up, or shut up.!

Jim Gandolfo
Jim Gandolfo

If d'Arnaud stays healthy, then all he has to do is hit .280 20/90 and we will ALL BE BOWING.  Please.  Either tell me Davis is raking it in some secret, winter ball league or put an ice machine at first base. This looks like the best we're gonna get.  Another season of hoping Ike  rebounds and Tejada improves.   I hope Sandy is biding his time until circumstances allow him to snag one of the AZ young ss's who might fall out of favor this spring.  Bring up the young guns, play some fastball and let's get at it!


mets2891
mets2891

Is it just me, or is d'Arnaud like the forgotten man on the Mets?  I feel like whenever people are in discussion about the team he's never brought up.  My expectations are low based off of the little that I saw of him last year, but if he actually ends up being the real deal, that could change a lot of things for this team.

metsnjets
metsnjets

Sorry but Travis isn't gonna cut it I have a feeling

Phil Mancini
Phil Mancini

The best catchers in the game had already put up solid seasons by the time they were d’Arnaud’s age.

eric88
eric88

Not from what I have seen.

Frank D
Frank D

I want Travis to command this pitching staff first, and then worry about hitting.  If all of the scouts are correct, his swing will mature in time.  The issue arises when he is expected to produce offensively very early on.  I will be happy if he has a catcher's ERA under 3.50.  Our strength moving forward is pitching, so we need Travis to be a steady presence.  This is where he will be our biggest asset.  

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

Hahaha oh man, I can't wait for them to throw up a post about Valdespin throwing another tantrum and leaving his winter team because he got pinch-hit for.


Where all the Jordy D-Riders at??

mets2014
mets2014

as I said in prior posts, I would be happy with paul loduca numbers...of course I would be thrilled with posey numbers

dous_nj
dous_nj

I just hope this kid can have a healthy 2014 campaign so we can accurately assess his progress by the end of the season.  

Ryan Flanagan
Ryan Flanagan

I have total faith in d'Arnaud and I'm not going to let one half of bad baseball in his rookie year make me feel any different. I expect a major improvement from last year and everyone still needs to remember this is still a KID.


I feel bad for d'Arnaud because he's going to be compared to the greatest hitting catcher of all time that donned the same uniform, whether he likes it or not. In Piazza's first full season he hit: 35 HRs and 112 RBIs. If we have reasonable expectations for d'Arnaud I don't think he'll disappoint. I just have to train myself to have those reasonable expectations....but we haven't had a catcher of any true quality since Piazza left really outside of LoDuca's solid 2006 season (which he likely was on PEDs for) so it's hard not to get excited.



beers22
beers22

Mayo always finds a reason to dislike mets farm system/prospects.  d'Arnaud being too old is a pretty stupid reason to downgrade him.  He'll be 25 this year and in the majors as a starting catcher.  It's not like he's going to be in AAA again.  He's been a prospect for a while bc some injuries slowed his development and he was a high draft pick that was traded twice.  For comparison sake, just looking at age, Hedges will be 22 this year and has 20 games of AA under his belt, putting him in the majors at 23 if all goes perfectly over the next year and a half.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

I just don't see the point in putting a label on a guy after a totaling 243 PAs in 2013.  That's too small a sample, and especially with only 112 of those at the ML level.

The general consensus around baseball is that this kid has the tools to be a reliable and productive big league catcher - it's not like only the Mets believe he has talent.

Can he wind up a bust?  Sure he can, I'm not naive to that.  But he's managed to adjust and succeed as a hitter at every level of baseball so far.  Let the guy get 400-500 ABs and then label him.

As for the injuries - what are you gonna do?  They happened and they're over with.  Obviously it causes some doubt and anxiety, but that's no reason to give up on the guy or label him a bust.  I'm excited to see him make adjustments and get in a groove this season.

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

He will be fine. He has the tools. Very good behind the plate, good enough arm. Offensively he has the hands to be a good hitter. When he came up last year his swing was long and he had trouble with hard stuff. But the kid had 100 or so AB's. He has the tools, hopefully he stays healthy. Certainly not the biggest guy in the world for a catcher but give the kid a season before everyone says he's a bust

drmetfan
drmetfan

Let's hope D'Arnaud lives up to the hype. He has been the top catching prospect in baseball for the last 3 or 4 years it seems. This year is the year for him to prove he is all every MLB executive and scout thin he is.

Mike Dell Italia
Mike Dell Italia

anyone else feel like darnaud is gunna be a bust.  I was encourage ab his defensive skills, but i have a feeling he's going to at best average offensively if that.

dabo
dabo

Where would the Mets be without the word possibly?  TDA possibly great, Tejada possibly starting and getting better, Davis possibly traded, Lagares possible gold glove winner, Granderson possibly the  perfect fit in left and Thor possibly the best starting prospect in the minors can't wait till spring training.

Frank D
Frank D

@Zach14 Except that he couldn't sit on the bench without complaining.  He annoyed players and coaches alike.  It's one thing if you are a perennial all-star with an attitude problem or even a highly touted prospect.  Jordany was the absolute definition of mediocre.  The Mets have bigger fish to fry than dealing with an average middle infielder's crying.  He's absolutely, positively not worth the headache.  

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@mets2014 Posey is on pace to be a Hall of Fame catcher at this point.  

Rookie of the Year, MVP, 2 rings, batting title…in 3 1/2 seasons.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@dous_nj He should have been the opening day catcher in 2013 but the front office thought it was better to play games with his service time. 

metsnjets
metsnjets

Well if everyone stops talking like he's a big time player he won't be compared to those players.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Ryan Flanagan He's a kid in terms of major league service time.  He's going to be 25 in less than a month.  He's not a kid in terms of age and hopefully maturity.  There have been a lot of major league catchers that have been established major leaguers by age 25

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@beers22 People are making 24 sound like 30.  And it's not like his body endured the wear and tear of catching over the year or so period that he lost due to injury.

Ziggy Jones
Ziggy Jones

@Robby Johnson i think this is spot on. it's difficult to assess him or the injuries b/c the injuries were freak things, not real ailments that linger, as has been said. I think d'arnaud's got a bright future, but everyone expects all the prospects to play as well as harvey did last year

dous_nj
dous_nj

@Robby Johnson but if they were to wait for 400-500 AB's before they labeled him anything, i think that would defeat the purpose of calling him a prospect, no? At least in the context of this particular post.  He is still considered a prospect and all prospects are projected to some type of rating, correct?  I do see your point though....

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Tarheel11 I agree.  I'd love to look at the first 99 ABs of some of the best hitters today and compare.  We've seen some rookies come up and destroy ML pitching immediately, but even the best hitters go through an adjustment period while learning how to hit at the big league level.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

So now every player has to be Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Mike Dell Italia We're all entitled to our own projections of players.  The reality is that we won't know until he gets a few seasons under his belt obviously.

I just don't agree with people already calling him a bust.  I'm not saying you are, but measuring a guy after roughly 100 Major League plate appearances and only 78 at AAA isn't realistic or accurate.

If the guy tanks it after 400-500 ABs, then I can understand pessimism.  But I'm going to wait until he hits that mark.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Hodges14 That's false.  He hadn't played since June of 2012 because of injury, and it's not like catcher was a pressing need with Buck on the roster.  There was no need to rush him to the majors coming off injury.


Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Hodges14 You literally just search these comments looking to be a negative, miserable human being, don't you?


I'm gonna go ahead and actually root for the kid and hope he succeeds - you go ahead and waste your time pessimistically conjuring every negative scenario you'd like.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Robby Johnson @beers22 Well he'll be 25 in less than a month.  In the post-steroid era how long does a catcher last?  32? 33?  The clock is definitely ticking.

dabo
dabo

@Robby Johnson @dabo True, it would be nice though to have a great veteran to help Wright in the lineup.  Possibly doesn't drive in many runs.

Ziggy Jones
Ziggy Jones

@nwmets @Hodges14 he didn't break his foot in spring training, he broke it in april, with Las Vegas. If he was in the majors, that wouldn't have happened. Although if he was in the majors, anything could have happened there. the fact is, it appears very clear that he should have been in the majors with buck as a backup.

nwmets
nwmets

@Hodges14 I guess you forgot about the part where he fouled a ball off his foot in spring training last year, breaking his foot. He was out of action for 3 months. It's hard to have an opening day catcher with a broken foot.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Robby Johnson @Hodges14 he proved he was healthy in spring training last year and he had 2000 minor league plate appearances already under his belt.  Holding him back was clearly screwing with his clock.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Robby Johnson @Hodges14 No problem.  Hard to read tone and emotion through text sometimes.  I agree, Mets fans had better hope that TDA is the real deal... the Mets really need him.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Hodges14 Fair enough, my bad for misinterpreting you.

I think we can both agree, age 25 or not, the kid has all the tools to help this team win ballgames.  That's all I care about.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Robby Johnson @Hodges14 Who was negative about d'Arnaud.  I didn't say anything negative about him at all.  I think the front office screwed him last year.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@Hodges14 You can look at 2013 in whatever lens you'd like, I could care less.

But why does that mean we have to be so negative about the kid?  Injuries happen and so do lost seasons.  It's not like the kid is completely doomed at age 25.  

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Robby Johnson @Hodges14 Hopefully he does succeed but to imply he wasn't ready last April or that he's a young kid is just wrong.  The front office messed around playing with the super2 deadline and it backfired on them.  His 2013 ended up being a waste of time.