Ernest Dove - Should Mets Catcher Travis d'Arnaud Be a middle-of-the-order Bat?

                                                  Travis in a 2015 rehab game in St. Lucie

  So, I posted up the above picture of Travis for two reasons: 

1:  Because I took it ;)
2:  Because perhaps it represents the biggest issue/concern everyone has for him

  Can Travis d'Arnaud stay healthy and be an everyday catcher?  If so, should he and his power potential be hitting 5th instead of 7th/8th in the 2016 Mets lineup?

  Normally during this time I show off my splendid google skills and put in a little research on basic stats.  Of course, because of the still young and brief history of Travis, including all the DL stints, these numbers will all be based off small numbers.  But I believe it's still worth pointing out.

  As we've seen throughout the spring season, the team hasn't really shown a lot of consistency in many areas, including efforts to have all hands on deck as often as perhaps they could have in regards to lineup configuration, but it does appear that he have the basic idea of how its going to look.  And what I've noticed is that in all instances and scenarios, the 27 year old power hitting catcher seems destined to hit in the bottom of the order.  This can always change, but is it a good idea from the start?

  Technically, in 2015, Travis statistically performed at his best from the 7th spot, posting a .311 BA, .382 OBP and .541 SLG.

  For his (still brief/short) career:

Batting 5th:  .264 BA ; .322 OBP ; .442 SLG ; .764 OPS
Batting 7th:  .249 BA ; .320 OBP ; .400 SLG ; .720 OPS

  Way down in the 8th hole, I believe TDA only has 70 ABs to his name.  Can't really tell what to make of his .186 BA in that spot.  For obvious reasons, his walk numbers are highest in this spot.  But his strikeout rate also looks high to me in the spot even in the small sample size.

  Perhaps my problem is that, as always, I'm looking at things from a pure pro Mets bias standpoint.  In my mind I envision Travis as a guy who can and will hit 25+ homers in 2016. I know that the age old statistic of batting average is becoming more and more downplayed, but I believe Travis can strill project out as a guy who can hit over .270, especially over the next 3-4 years of his upcoming prime age window of performance. So again the question is whether or not those kinds of numbers can occur, and if would benefit the Mets to have them occur while he is hitting 5th for example?

  On paper, it looks as though Neil Walker (ever assuming our captain is in the lineup) is set up to be the 5th hitter.  He is an experience guy, with power, a switch hitter, and technically has current projections to produce more power numbers than Travis in 2016.  So the option is not a problem for me.  Besides, I'm also a guy (head in the clouds bias) who wants Michael Conforto hitting 3rd sooner rather than later.

  But again, sticking the point (I'm never good at that), can this team succeed and go to new heights once again in 2016 with Travis the most at bats possible, from the highest spot in the batting order possible?

  Let's also not forget that when Travis came out of the gates on FIRE last year, he at the time was moved all the way up to number 2 spot to ride the wave of success before he went down to injury.  There will always be room for Travis to be moved up during the season.   So should the Mets simply go the same route this year, sitting him down at #7 or even #8 and see what kind of production (and health) he has coming out of the gate?

 One way or another I would like to expect a big season from Mr. TDA. My rose colored glasses continue to envision a lineup in which Conforto is 3rd, perhaps Travis even hitting cleanup, and oh yeah my man Dominic Smith hitting 5th (yup I went there again with my Dom lovin self).

  Final thoughts:

  Rather then simply downplay his entire professional career to this point due to injury, and expect the worst, I prefer to see a HUGE season for Travis d'Arnaud. And also, perhaps another survey type future post waiting to happen is this question:  If all healthy and playing at their highest level, who among David, Cespedes, Duda and TDA do you think would put up the most overall sexiest numbers in 2016?  Taking into account all the stats, including batting average, I wonder if TDA would be at the top of that list in everyone's minds........................................ 

Well anyway its just me again throwing out stuff and seeing if it sticks.  Let me know what you guys think.


Thomas Brennan said...

I too would like to see d'Arnaud stay healthy and see what a full year looks like.

If Cespedes does not have the best year of all Mets offense regulars, I will be shocked. Lack of power a little puzzling (was this the Kevin Long fix) but hitting .375 without the benefit of a homer, and just 6 Ks in 50 at bats is very encouraging.I

Mack Ade said...

I have been strong on d'Arnaud all spring and I expect, if he stays healthy for him to have a 20+ HR. 70+ RBI, .270+ BA season

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