Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
Back on January 13th, Christopher Rinaldi of Fangraphs wrote on Travis d’Arnaud -
The real key to the 2016 Mets offense is Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud is oft-injured, but when he is not he is a great player. He could be the best catcher in baseball, but he may also cobble together a half-season of play, losing multiple battles to the disabled list. d’Arnaud provided 2.3 fWAR and 1.7 bWAR in 2015 while only playing 67 games. When he plays he is an elite catcher, and a very good hitter, ranking 3rd in wRC+ (.131) and wOBA (.355) for catchers, trailing only Buster Posey and Kyle Schwarber. A full season of d’Arnaud could exceed the value of Cespedes in 1/3 of a season…by a lot.
Mack – Bob Gregory and I have discussed the ‘oft-injured’ d’Arnaud ad nauseam and I agree with him that his past injuries have hurt the Mets, but d’Arnaud finished the season without a major injury since the all-star break and this just may be a peak into his future.
I also consider the past d’Arnaud injuries a series of bad luck play outs which easily could never happen again.
What d’Arnaud does need to do is work harder at his defensive game. Kansas City picked him apart by running on him throughout the World Series.
The Mets signed a new catcher last week.
Nevin Ashley is a 30-year old that played last year for the Milwaukee Brewers (20-AB, .100). He also hit .306 in 337 at-bats (8-HR, 61-RBI) for their AAA affiliate, Colorado Springs (PCL). He has a lifetime (10 seasons) .263 minor league average.
Ashley was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the 6th round of the 2006 draft. I expect him to play 2016 in Las Vegas.
Jonathan Mayo put out the MLB Pipeline All Defensive Team and the Mets 1B Dominic Smith made the first team –
First base: Dom Smith, Mets - While Smith, also from that 2013 first round, is a first baseman only, he has great hands and footwork around the bag to go along with an accurate arm. Infielders are going to love throwing to him at the big league level.
They also list Smith as the 92nd top prospect in baseball, which I found a little conservative. Other Mets on their top 100 list are P Steven Matz (15th), OF Brandon Nimmo (71st), SS Amed Rosario (82nd), and SS Gavin Cecchini (90th).
Mack – Everyone seems to be in total agreement that Smith will be a positive addition to the Mets, possibly on opening day 2017.