Is There Still Hope For Travis d’Arnaud Upon His Return?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know how bad the Mets’ young backstop was this season, hitting .180 with 3 HR prior to being demoted to Triple-A. Upon his return to the PCL d’Arnaud has quickly caught fire, slashing .444/.448/.871 in 17 games (with 8 doubles and 7 HR). Obviously the environment is much better than CitiField, but how much should fantasy owners really read into this?

The first thing to note is that it’s not like d’Arnaud was producing either home or away:

  • Home – .204/.278/.245
  • Road – .165/.267/.291

Yes, the PCL is inflating his numbers while at Triple-A but we can’t solely blame CitiField for his struggles. It’s simply not true.

Luckily for d’Arnaud, he was still showing a good eye while up with the Mets as he posted a 17.2% strikeout rate and 11.0% walk rate. Those are marks that should allow him to hit for a strong average.

However, there were quite a few issues with his batted ball profile that were causing the issues:

  1. He simply wasn’t hitting the ball with much authority (15.5% line drive rate). There’s hope, given a 20.0% mark in the minors since 2011.
  2. There were too many popups, with an IFFB of 11.6%. That placed him 71st among hitters with at least 140 PA. On the surface that’s not awful, but when coupled with a lack of power (or extra base hits in general) it’s worth noting.

We have to remember that d’Arnaud is a young catcher, not only working out issues at the plate but also learning how to manage a major league pitching staff. It’s not a major surprise to see him have some struggles at the plate, but it is way too early to simply write him off and act like he can’t produce at all.

Long considered one of the top catching prospects in the game, it could take some time before he finds his footing. He’s coming back, but seeing him struggle again should almost be expected.

In redraft and one-catcher formats, there’s not likely to be much value (though there could be). Simply keep an eye on him and see how things develop.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Minor League Central

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