Dissecting Travis d’Arnaud’s offensive slump…

Travis d'Arnaud, Terry Collins

Rich MacLeodOverall, it’s been a pretty outstanding season for Travis d’Arnaud. While he’s dealt with two different stints on the disabled list, the Mets young catcher has still been one of the most productive catchers in all of baseball, as he’s hitting .278/.346/.522 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 41 RBI and an .868 OPS in 58 games this season.

And since August 23, d’Arnaud has posted a .945 OPS, second highest in the game behind only Buster Posey.

Lately, though, it’s been a different story for d’Arnaud. The Mets 26-year-old backstop is mired in an 0-for-17 slump and is just 9-for-his-last-43 in his last 13 games played.

The problem with d’Arnaud in this slump – which is really the first time he’s struggled all season – has been his approach at the plate and specifically his pitch recognition.

In his last six games, d’Arnaud is swinging at pitches out of the strike zone 42 percent of the time, and is only making contact 76.9 percent of the time in that span.

Over the course of the season, d’Arnaud has only swung at pitches out of the zone 27.9 percent of the time. So, he’s really going outside of his strengths as of late, which is certainly uncharacteristic for someone who has shown to be a very patient and disciplined hitter when he’s been healthy in 2015.

He’s also swinging and missing inside the strike zone 20 percent of the time during this skid, compared to about 13 percent of the time overall this season.

His slump has impacted the team’s offense in general as of late as well. He’s had plenty of RBI opportunities lately, only to come up empty more often than not which has impacted the club’s ability to score.

Not only does d’Arnaud not have a hit with a runner in scoring position since September 12th–eight games ago–but in his last 13 games, he’s left 33 runners on base.

Over the last couple weeks, d’Arnaud has appeared to be a little over-anxious at the plate, especially in these RBI opportunities.

The thing is, he’s been so good for the offense outside of this recent funk, he’s bound to bounce back sooner rather than later. He’s made a noticeable adjustment to his swing and batting stance, keeping his hands lower and the bat further from his body. D’Arnaud recently told JustMets that this was an effort to get his hands into hitting position faster and eliminate unnecessary movement.

So now it’s a matter of adjusting his approach, working himself back into better counts, and showing that patience which made him so successful prior to this slump.

Once he does that, he and the offense should once again reap the rewards of his presence in lineup.

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