by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The fact that Travis d’Arnaud is currently dealing with an injury shouldn’t be a surprise, as it’s been the story of his career. It’s been one injury after another and it appears like he’s primed to miss time once again, this time thanks to shoulder discomfort. That should put Plawecki in line to be the everyday catcher, with Rene Rivera likely being utilized as his understudy.
Strikeouts have been an issue in the Majors for Plawecki, with a 23.7% strikeout rate, though it wasn’t a problem in the minors and a 9.3% SwStr% indicates better days ahead. Of course an improvement there will only go so far, as he hit 27 HR over 1,282 PA in the minors (about 1 HR every 47.5 PA). While there’s upside (he had 75 doubles), expecting a significant maturation would likely be a mistake barring an alteration to his approach.
He also offers no speed and likely projects as more of a .270-.280ish hitter right now thanks to the lack of power. However, there is potential for him to develop into more. Just look at what Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 wrote about Plawecki prior to 2015:
“His plus hit-tool is a combination of excellent plate coverage, contactability and a swing that is short and direct to the ball. In his 1041 professional at-bats, he has struck out only 125 times while walking 97. That’s an 89% contact rate that should translate to a nearly .300 batting average in the big leagues. The problem is that his swing path is very level and is more geared for line drives. However, at 6-foot-2 and 225, he has the size and the bat speed that if he decided to change his approach, could give him 10 to 15 home run power.”
In other words, in two-catcher formats he could offer some short-term relief (while playing) but in most formats he isn’t going to hold much value.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:
- 10 Team League – No value
- 12 Team League – No value
- 14+ Team League – Could be short-term plug and play
- Two-Catcher Formats – Worth owning while playing
- NL-Only League – Worth adding
- Keeper/Dynasty – There’s upside, so worth owning
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Prospect 361
Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists: