Maybe it seems like a decade ago. Maybe it seems like yesterday. The Mets traded away the reigning Cy Young award winner in R.A. Dickey for a haul of prospects, and so the legend of that trade begins.
Perhaps we can speculate what went on behind the scenes here. The Blue Jays were contending in a tough division, and ownership was shelling out all kinds of bucks to acquire talent (no need to mention their shortstop). And, from what I understand, I believe the Jays actually had up to 3 total catching prospects in the upper minors all at the same time. Combine that with the recent injury bug that was riddling young Travis at the time, and perhaps this trade was even more about Noah Syndergaard then it was about the number one rated minor league prospect in the game. (shhhh don't look now but the teenage throw in added to the deal is hitting a little in full season low A ball as we speak).
Of course, its the Mets, and the Mets seem to be Mets at times (just ask Metstwitter) so it almost seemed inevitable that a some freak injury would occur, and it did for Travis very early on in his Mets minor league career. However, while the fan base went a little nutty, it appears that Travis ultimately continued his journey successfully. Well, right up until the Mets officially handed him the job, and he went ahead and looked awful at the plate to start his rookie campaign. But the franchise never lost confidence in the young (but getting older) talent that they had. He was sent briefly back to the minors, worked on his game, use whatever cliché you wish, and he has come back strong. Which brings us to 2015. Is this the real Travis d'Arnaud? Is he,
"who we thought he was"?
Perhaps maybe we can further dissect what really went on to start Travis Mets career. He was promoted to the big boy club as a CATCHER, not some hotshot outfielder, or some corner infielder. So, along with trying to work the media madness of New York, help save a franchise, and turn a blind eye to the critics talking injury bug, the young man had to handle an entire pitching staff (which totals 13 of em nowadays).
Take one Jonathan Lucroy for example. Lucroy came up his rookie season with his catchers mit and proceeded to hit 4 homers, and bat .253 in 2010. But even in his support for d'Arnaud, Lucroy simply pointed out the not so simple transition of a catcher, and the focus put on studying, analyzing and learning not only an entire MLB full of hitters, but also learn the ins and outs of every pitcher putting on a Mets uniform in a game. Well, anyway, back to Lucroy, he has gone on, the past 3years, to average 14 homes, and hit an average of .297.
Well, anyway, does a week or two in April make a career? Certainly not. But I'm making the case for a consensus top overall catching prospect in baseball being exactly what he was projected to be. Perhaps he changed/shortened his swing. Perhaps the guys in Vegas are genius's out there (and many feel should be doing in in Queens). Perhaps Travis has simply grown into his position, grown into his responsibility, and has begun to grow in confidence each and every game.
Not even the quite rumblings of another stud hitting former first round compensation pick (hi Kevin) has seemed to rattle the chains on a catcher who's health and talent seem to currently be aligned right now. Maybe we can begin to have some fun arguing about his place in the batting order (I prefer him in the 5 hole), or maybe we can keep arguing about his knack for pitch framing sometimes causing a few unwanted pass balls. What we can't argue is the offensive potential of a guy who for all we know will be representing the Mets in the All Star game for the remainder of this decade. Remember, he's not a corner infielder or a corner outfielder, he's in a position in which some/many teams are simply happy to have a fresh body with above average defensive skills and a good understanding of hitters and his pitching staff.
So, in the end, my money is on Travis d'Arnaud to be a part of this teams successful future (Mets have guys being paid extremely well to figure out what to do with Plawecki). I look forward to his ongoing success, and seeing/hearing/reading about those who will simply state, "that is who we thought he was".