What a difference d’Arnaud makes…
Where would the Mets be if Travis d’Arnaud had been available for most of the year? Simply put, the Mets win a lot when he plays.
The Mets catcher has clearly been a difference maker for the Mets, when he’s played of course. Since his return from a second long stint on the disabled list, d’Arnaud has posted an .866 OPS while slugging seven doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI with 13 walks in 96 plate appearances since July 31.
In his 22 games since returning from his second stint on the disabled list, the Mets are 16-6.
And in the 41 games d’Arnaud has played in this season, the club is 27-14.
Certainly, it’s hard to quantify his presence alone being a difference maker, but the lineup certainly flows better with d’Arnaud in the lineup, and it did so even before Sandy Alderson injected the roster with new talent in late July.
He got off to a sluggish start from his second stint on the disabled list. He was rusty and feeling for a lot of pitches inside the strike zone, much like the way he looked before he got sent down to the minor leagues in mid-2014. But he found his stroke immediately following the Mets pivotal series against the Nationals in early August, posting six multiple-hit games in his last 20 while posting a .935 OPS during that span.
He’s made an interesting adjustment with his batting stance, hanging the bat over his head in a way not seen since Julio Franco was in the league. But it’s clearly helping his timing and getting his hands moving at the right time, and he’s shown off those quick hands on pitches inside with regularity lately.
Overall, he’s hitting the ball to all fields (with a little more pull in 2015 than he had previously) and getting more lift on the ball, as both his line drive and flyball rates are up.
The issue for the Mets going forward is finding a way to keep d’Arnaud healthy and in the lineup for 140 or more games. He has stayed so positive throughout all of his injury problems this season, but he had to have been frustrated spending more time trying to get back on the field, than being on it through the end of July.
He isn’t so much injury prone as he is accident prone, given the nature of his injuries over the years. Of course, he broke his hand being hit by a pitch in mid-April, but the bulk of his injuries have come while catching, all of which have been impact-type injuries.
But it’s hard to prevent what has transpired for d’Arnaud without teaching him another position and moving him out from behind the plate. For now, that’s something the organization insists they’re not considering.
But if they value his bat as much as they say they do and is clearly needed, then it at least needs to be a discussion point in their organizational meetings after the season ends.