Ed Leyro is a Mets fan. Wait, that doesn’t quite get it done. It’s like saying Wolverine has a high pain tolerance. Or that Bobby Sands had “pretty good” plate discipline. Ed Leyro is a huge Mets fan. He studies this stuff, analyzes things, bleeds orange and blue, and writes well, too. And Ed tweeted this factoid on Thursday night:
What else can we say except for . . . oy. A few days ago, Brian Joura, High King of Mets360, posted an article, “Travis d’Arnaud may be running out of rope.” He wrote, in part:
By all offensive measures, Travis d’Arnaud is failing to get it done. Never mind that he was a highly touted prospect for his hitting ability, let’s just look at him through the eyes of league averages as presented by Baseball-Reference.
|BA: .193||lgBA: .248|
|OBP: .281||lgOBP: .313|
|SLG: .298||lgSLG: .392|
|OPS: .579||lgOPS: .704|
Of all catchers in the NL who have at least 100 ABs (12 players), d’Arnaud ranks second to last to Yasmani Grandal of the Padres in both BA and OBP, and last in SLG. Let’s not forget his nine RBI so far this season, a number so low that it can’t even be written numerically according to this website’s standard practices. These stats come as no surprise to many of us who have watched him play over the last couple of months, and even going back into last season. But when you look at him compared to just about anyone else in the league, it’s tough to think he can continue this mediocre play, and get almost unadulterated playing time.
My initial reaction was zen-like calm, naturally. Then a shrug. There was no story. It was June and Travis only had 134 ABs this season at the time of the post. Too soon to overreact. I even commented at length:
I think it’s pointless to run numbers at this time. He hasn’t been hitting, that’s obvious.
The defense has been overall solid, with hiccups, but I’m happy with that aspect. He appears to be a ML catcher.
Catchers are notorious for starting off their careers as poor hitters. Think of Todd Hundley’s first few years. The three most important things for a rookie catcher are defense, defense, and defense. It has to be the priority.
Obviously, for sure, Travis has disappointed at the plate. The approach — that damn word — seems off-balance. Some ABs he hacks, others he takes fastballs down the middle.
More to the point, I worry about the concussions (three in his young career). My POV, full disclosure, is that I believe Jason Bay’s experience in NY was a direct result of the concussions. You lose even a slight edge, it’s like losing everything. Look at Agee’s first year with the Mets, after getting beaned in Spring Training. Old school guys used to worry that it was fear, but really it might have been faulty wiring. To expect Travis to miss a lot of time last season, and now come off a concussion (what’s he played, 2 games since he’s back?), and hitting at the ML level, is unrealistic.
There’s a lot of truth in what I wrote. But, damn, these games count. So upon reflection, I’m wondering if Brian was right. That maybe we are getting very close to the point of shipping out Travis to AAA. Because, you know, this is getting ridiculous. Obviously, such a move would have huge implications on the pitching staff, enough to make a team think twice, think three times, before sending down a failed prospect to the farm. The last thing the Mets want to do is make a move that has a negative impact on the pitching staff. -
On Thursday night, Terry Collins pinch-hit for Travis in the 8th inning when the Mets were down by one run. He’s also moved him to the 8th spot, which is, I guess, the opposite of “trying to get him going.” In fact, it might be time to consider the reverse. One notion would be to bat him 2nd in the lineup. Bat him 6th. Give him a week where he’s got a chance of seeing some real pitches. I know, I know. I’ve knocked Terry’s predilection of taking unproductive players and “trying to get them going.” But the Mets have a lot invested in Travis d’Arnaud. If he succeeds, the organization is a lot healthier. All season long he’s either batted in front of Ruben Tejada or the pitcher. That hasn’t helped Travis. But, well, I get it. Travis just makes outs. At this point, personally, before I sent him down to AAA, I’d try moving him to a new spot in the order. Maybe it helps. Maybe it, you know, gets him going. -
It’s fair to wonder: Was Sandy snookered by Travis’ 2012 PCL numbers? It was quite a slash line: .333/.380/.595. Across his career in the minors, d’Arnaud’s numbers come down to earth: .285/.347/.476. Put that hitter in Citi Field and the SLG is going to take a dive. Maybe at best he’s a .250 hitter with .400 power. That’s still a good catcher. -
Sigh. I really don’t know what to think. Mostly, I’m just hoping. I see what appears to be a good kid who looks utterly lost right now. As if his head is in a fog. And I’m worrying about those concussions, the invisible injury that baseball still doesn’t seem to fully understand. I should add a closing thought, and yes, it’s after the fact. Travis d’Arnaud had previously suffered two concussions when Alfonzo Soriano bopped him on the head. It looked like it hurt, a lot. So Terry and the team’s head trainer, Ray Ramirez, went out, had a chat, and determined that Travis was perfectly fine to continue. He stayed in the game. Obviously, they got that wrong. If that were my kid, I’d be very unhappy with that failure to protect him.