Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets catcherTravis d’Arnaud
. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports
D’Arnaud, who has been on Baseball America’s top prospect list since 2010, was traded this off-season to the New York Mets along with right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard, shortstop Wuilmer Becerra and catcher John Buck in return for knuckleballer (and 2012 NL Cy Young award winner) R.A. Dickey, catcher Josh Thole and catcher Mike Nickeas. While he has put up excellent numbers when he’s been in the lineup, the 24-year-old has earned a reputation as being somewhat injury prone throughout his minor league career.
A promising hitter and solid fielder, d’Arnaud has only had 131 plate appearances this season after breaking a bone in his foot in April playing for the Las Vegas 51s in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. In 2012, also playing in Vegas (but for the Blue Jays organization), he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee, limiting his playing time to 303 plate appearances in sixty-seven games.
D’Arnaud hit an impressive .333/.380/.595 in 2012, slugging 16 home runs, hitting 21 doubles and throwing out a solid 30% of baserunners trying to steal. This season he has only 78 at bats in AAA Las Vegas but has continued his outstanding hitting, improving on most of his numbers in a small sample size. He’s currently hitting .304/.487(!)/.554 with only two home runs but eight doubles this season. D’Arnaud has also improved his throwing game, throwing out five of the 11 runners who have attempted to steal (45%).
D’Arnaud is one of the least talked about prospects that the Blue Jays traded away this off-season (mainly because he hasn’t played much due to his injury). With all the criticism of J.P. Arencibia‘s game (both offensively and defensively) and the lack of major league ready catchers in the Jays’ system, the call up of d’Arnaud really stings for Blue Jays fans. With Arencibia and Thole struggling at the plate, a player like d’Arnaud, who also promises solid defense, would be very useful.
To add insult to injury (no offense, Travis), two other former Blue Jays prospects had outstanding nights in Double-A tonight. Left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino pitched six outstanding innings for the Jacksonville Suns, giving up only three hits and two walks and racking up thirteen strikeouts. His former teammate in Lansing, Noah Syndergaard threw five innings of shutout ball for the Binghamton Mets, giving up only three hits and striking out ten.
On the other side of the ledger, tonight’s snapshot of performances shows that R.A. Dickey had a decent start (7 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts), Josh Thole hit a triple and Jose Reyes went 1 for 5.
What do you think about the trade off? Is the “win now” attitude going to be successful in 2014? Will the Blue Jays have the juice for a playoff run while Dickey is still a Blue Jay? Would you rather have d’Arnaud and Syndergaard back?