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Because People Forgot: Travis d’Arnaud Was A Good Mets Catcher

Seeing Travis d’Arnaud play great since leaving the Mets has generally seen Mets fans have one of two reactions:

  1. Typical Mets
  2. Can’t criticize the Mets for this one

The second reaction is driven by the premise d’Arnaud wasn’t good with the Mets. Essentially, the Mets gave him every possible chance, and he still didn’t succeed. Ipso facto, he was never going to be good with the Mets.

This is the standard defense when a player the Mets gave up on too soon thrived elsewhere. The most famous recent example was Justin Turner. Of course, that was predicated on a false premise.

Turner worked on his launch angle with Marlon Byrd, and he was getting results late in the season. Rather than pay Turner an absurdly low arbitration salary to permit him to be a useful utility player who could grow to be more, the Mets instead chose to non-tender and slander him.

Mets fans having amnesia from all the other times the Wilpon led Mets front office do this only for the decision to blow up in their face, somehow take the organization’s side. It happens time and time again, and we’re seeing it with d’Arnaud.

The biggest fallacy with d’Arnaud was he wasn’t good with the Mets. Sadly, this emanates from a poor understanding of the catching position wherein people equate the ability to catch with the ability to throw.

Now, there are some truths with d’Arnaud. First and foremost, he was injury prone. Second, his throwing arm wasn’t great. Third, his bat wasn’t as advertised when he was obtained as a prospect.

Still, that should not be conflated to mean he wasn’t good with the Mets. In fact, d’Arnaud was a good Met.

From 2014 (his first full season) until 2017 (his last full season), d’Arnaud amassed an 8.5 fWAR*. Over that stretch, d’Arnaud was the 11th best catcher in the game. His 99 wRC+ made him the 14th best catcher in the game.

Certainly, his bat wasn’t as good as hoped, but it was league average. It was also above average for his position. We also knew there was a chance for more.

In 2015, we got a glimpse of what d’Arnaud would be in his post Mets career. In that season, he hit .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers and 41 RBI. That was good for a 130 wRC+. That made him one of the best catchers in the game, and with his hitting three homers that postseason, he seemed poised for stardom.

Really, d’Arnaud looked like the complete catcher. He could hit. He blocked balls and framed at an elite level. There was no one in baseball better at fielding throws and getting down tags. He just led a young pitching staff to the World Series.

Admittedly, it didn’t happen. Injuries were a big reason why.

In 2016, he dealt with a rotator cuff strain. In 2017, he dealt with wrist injuries. Finally, in 2018, it was discovered he had a torn UCL costing him that season.

These are all injuries which impact your hitting, and they’re reasons why d’Arnaud wasn’t able to build off of his 2015 campaign. Still, he remained a strong defensive catcher and pitch framer.

Put another way, d’Arnaud was actually a good catcher who helped his team win. As noted, he was the 11th best in the game.

After his UCL injury, there was legitimate hole he’d return to his 2015 form. Instead, the Mets under Jeff Wilpon’s direction did what they always do. They unnecessarily rushed a player back from injury.

At a time when d’Arnaud should’ve been on a rehab assignment, or even rehabbing to get ready to play in rehab games, d’Arnaud was catching a Major League game, and he had just about the worst game a catcher has ever had. Instead of realizing it was the Mets who screwed up by forcing a player to return before he was ready, they got rid of him.

This led to d’Arnaud getting the time he needed to get back into playing shape. Now, away from the arm and elbow injuries and away from the Mets medical decision makers, we see d’Arnaud return to his 2015 form.

Again, what d’Arnaud is doing now is something we’ve seen him do in a Mets uniform.

Just because you were frustrated with his inability to throw out base stealers should dealing with a starting staff incapable of holding on runners doesn’t change that. Just because we saw the Mets use SNY and their influence with some media personalities or the fact there are just plain ignorant fans doesn’t change that.

So yes, there’s every reason to believe Travis d’Arnaud would have been this good if he stayed with the Mets. First and foremost, he was healthy. Second and just as important, he had already been this good in a Mets uniform.

And regardless of what he would or would not have done if he stayed with the Mets, d’Arnaud was good with the Mets. Being 11th best at his his position proves that.

Editor’s Note: Typically, this site uses bWAR. Catchers are the one exception as fWAR incorporates framing.

30 thoughts on “Because People Forgot: Travis d’Arnaud Was A Good Mets Catcher”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    Every few months you have to go back 8 years to pick at a Justin Turner scab. He was a 28 year old third baseman who had 2 HRs in 200 ABs in 2013. He had a 30 year old workhorse third baseman we had locked up for another ten years who had just come off a 5.2 WAR season named David Wright, and there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t play 155 games for the next ten years on his march to the HoF. Turner could maybe play second….but Daniel Murphy was there. Coming up that year were Wilmer Flores and Tejada.

    I’m sure they would have traded Turner but he had no value. Turner is one of a handful of incredible, as in unbelievable, mid-to-late career turn arounds one would cite in the past decade. Good for him. He wouldn’t have done it on the Mets bench getting a few hundred ABs here and there. Even you know this. You just think you are talking to children as always.

    Travis was given every possible chance with the Mets, and he couldn’t stay on the field. Catchers who can’t answer the bell in their 20s rarely improve in their 30s, especially having added a new Tommy John to the mix. He has had a nice 490 at bats since leaving the Mets. I wish him well.

    Letting struggling vets go here and there who later had a renaissance is hardly a serious criticism for a front office. It is a shame the effects of the opposite side of that spectrum aren’t easily qualified.

    1. Mets Daddy says:

      I honestly feel bad for you that you actually believe all the lies the Wilpons sold to you.

      Don’t worry. Competent ownership will soon be here, and he will install a competent GM. Hopefully, you’ll then see how wrong they and you have been all these years.

  2. Mike.BTB says:

    His ability was not necessarily in question more than his availability. Mets needed a more dependable catcher. However, I never viewed Wilson Ramos as an upgrade. In fact he is a downgrade. Until I find that viable upgrade d’Arnaud stays in a Mets uniform. Bad move by the front office.

    1. oldbackstop says:

      Two factors here:

      — Travis was a trainwreck as a defensive catcher this year. See my other post
      — When we signed Wilson he was a 30.year old All Star catcher with positive dWARs and he had slashed .306/.358/.487/.845

      I was not happy with his signing because I hate, or self-hate 🙂 OldBackstops as they enter their 30s. They break down,

      That just sent a little chill through me. We are looking to sign a Age 30 catcher coming off an All Star year in 2019 where he slashed:

      Realmuto: .275/.328/.493/.820
      Ramos: .306/.358/.487/.845

      Rut-ro.

    2. Mets Daddy says:

      Yes, d’Arnaud’s injuries were an issue, but that was part of a larger problem of how poorly the Mets have handled injured players.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        broken bones, bulging discs, a blownout PCL, arm, foot injuries, and then Tommy John.

        I can tell you what happens with knee and back and shoulder injuries in catchers. They heal, but they ding the ability to execute fundamentals. The deep crouches, the bounce, the fraction of a secon release.

        That is how you wind up with a 32 year old catcher who throws out three of 27 SB attempts, has the most passed balls in baseball, and winds up with a -28 rdrs/yr rating. Catchers break down at 30. Guys with 6 or 8 major injuries definitely break down.

        Travis won’t get 75 games in at catcher next year, and his defensive stats will continue to decline. If there is no DL…..well, YOU go chat with Freddie Freeman.

        1. Mets Daddy says:

          This will age as well as your J.D. Davis analysis

  3. oldbackstop says:

    Oh, by the way, Travis only started 33 of 60 Atlanta Braves games this year.

    — Despite that, D’Arnaud leads the league in passed balls.
    — He has allowed 24 stolen bases, which is third in the league behind catchers with a much higher CS%
    — D’Arnaud has thrown out three runners to give him an 11% CS rate.
    — D’Arnaud leads the league in lowest CS% of catcher who started more than half their team’s games. By a lot.
    — His rdrs/yr was -28. (Ramos was -4)
    — D’Arnaud’s dWAR was -0.5. (Ramos was +0.3)

    In fact, let’s just copy the headers from BBR to list the catcher categories Ramos beat D’Arnaud in this year:
    Rtot Rtot/yr Rctch Rdrs Rdrs/yr Rgood Rair Rrange Rthrow RszC RsbC RerC RF/9 RF/G PB
    ▼ WP SB CS CS%

    ===============================================================

    So….a reasonable person, if you can find one around your house, would agree that Travis was pretty appalling behind the plate in 2020. Nobody who values defense, like enlightened you, would want him there.with his -28 rdrs/yr et al

    So maybe you do what Tampa did and try him somewhere else.

    First base and DH. Does that do us much this year? Is he an improvement over Dom+Alonso? (PS: I’ll give you a hint, he is terrible at first base)

    But his bat! We always here it when he has a big game, and he sure killed us!

    Since he left NY D’Arnaud has hit 25 home runs and slashed .273/.336/.465/.801to a 2.8 oWAR.
    Over those same last two years, Dom has hit 35 home runs and slashed .299/.366/.571/.937 to a 2.9 oWAR
    And over those same two years, Pete has hit 69 home runs and slashed .252/.350/.559/.909 to a 6.1 oWAR.

    Oh! Pete and Dom are 25 years old, D’Arnaud will shortly turn 32.

    So….where does D’Arnaud play on the 2020 Mets, MetsDaddy?

    .

    1. Mets Daddy says:

      Saying d’Arnaud is a bad defensive catcher because of throwing out base runners is like saying a pitcher isn’t good because he doesn’t have a good pickoff move or that a batter isn’t good because he can’t go from first to third on a single.

      Put another way, it’s embarrassing analysis indicative you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        I listed about 15 other defensive catching categories where he is either at the bottom of the league or was worse than Ramos this year.

        Did rdrs/yr -28 compared to Ramos -4 at least catch your eye? Or were both hands covering them once you saw his stats?

        1. Mets Daddy says:

          Yes, please keep using antiquated stats to prove a gross misunderstanding of the catching position

  4. oldbackstop says:

    Oh, by the way, Travis only started 33 of 60 Atlanta Braves games at catcher this year.

    — Despite that, D’Arnaud leads the league in passed balls.
    — He has allowed 24 stolen bases, which is third in the league behind catchers with a much higher CS%
    — D’Arnaud has thrown out three runners to give him an 11% CS rate.
    — D’Arnaud leads the league in lowest CS% of catcher who started more than half their team’s games. By a lot.
    — His rdrs/yr was -28. (Ramos was -4)
    — D’Arnaud’s dWAR was -0.5. (Ramos was +0.3)

    In fact, let’s just copy the headers from BBR to list the catcher categories Ramos beat D’Arnaud in this year:
    Rtot Rtot/yr Rctch Rdrs Rdrs/yr Rgood Rair Rrange Rthrow RszC RsbC RerC RF/9 RF/G PB
    ▼ WP SB CS CS%

    ===============================================================

    So….a reasonable person, if you can find one around your house, would agree that Travis was pretty appalling behind the plate in 2020. Nobody who values defense, like enlightened you, would want him there.with his -28 rdrs/yr et al

    So maybe you do what Tampa did and try him somewhere else.

    First base and DH. Does that do us much this year? Is he an improvement over Dom+Alonso? (PS: I’ll give you a hint, he is terrible at first base)

    But his bat! We always here it when he has a big game, and he sure killed us!

    Since he left NY D’Arnaud has hit 25 home runs and slashed .273/.336/.465/.801to a 2.8 oWAR.
    Over those same last two years, Dom has hit 35 home runs and slashed .299/.366/.571/.937 to a 2.9 oWAR
    And over those same two years, Pete has hit 69 home runs and slashed .252/.350/.559/.909 to a 6.1 oWAR.

    Oh! Pete and Dom are 25 years old, D’Arnaud will shortly turn 32.

    So….where does D’Arnaud play on the 2020 Mets, MetsDaddy?

    .

  5. oldbackstop says:

    This has been a great summer for MetsDaddy.

    Getting home schooled everyday lolololol!!!!

    1. Mets Daddy says:

      It has been as time continues to prove much of what I say correct

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Where would Travis and his -28 rdrs/yr and 11% CS rate play on the 2020 Mets, MD?

        1. Mets Daddy says:

          We’ll talk when you decide to use relevant catching stats

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            Ahh…you stat-shopped until you found one that had Travis not in the basement at decoupage or framing or whatever? Well, when you are leading the league in passed balls and utterly incapable of throwing out a runner, a stolen strike or two (in someone’s opinion) doesn’t mean dick.

          2. Mets Daddy says:

            No, I don’t stat shop. I just use relevant ones, but please keep assessing how someone catches a ball by how they throw because it’s just genius analysis.

  6. Oldbackstop says:

    Where would Travis and his -28 rdrs/yr and 11% CS rate play on the 2020 Mets, MD?

    1. Mets Daddy says:

      I’d say the fifth best catcher in the majors this year would catch over one of the worst.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Fifth best defensive catcher! Led the league it passed balls and lowest CS% and was at -28 rdrs/yr!!

        Do tell.

        1. Mets Daddy says:

          I said fifth best catcher in the majors this year which is a fact.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            By what measure? I’ve given you a dozen that d’Arnaud was among the worse.

          2. Mets Daddy says:

            fWAR, and no, you didn’t

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            Lol…You don’t use WAR because it doesn’t add whatever the current du jour “formula” is for “framing”, right. Well, in addition to being first in passed balls and last in throwing out baserunners, Travis is 25th this year in runs saved by “framing”, according to Statcast:

            https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/catcher_framing?year=2020&team=&min=q&sort=4,1

          4. Mets Daddy says:

            Please continue purposefully misconstruing and misrepresenting things I say.

        2. Mets Daddy says:

          Your big gotcha moment is a stat which has him as better than average and ranked 25th of 62 catchers?

          Also, why did you ignore BP which has TdA at a 110 DRC+?

          I find it odd you’d overlook all of it. That is unless you’re being completely disingenuous.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            As you know, in order to get to your number of 62, you must include catchers who caught as few as five games. This is the same logic you employed when you wrote that Guillorme was having “Ted Williams” year when he had 44 at bats. He them batted .06 the rest of the year. I would have though that your humiliation there would have taught you something about small samples.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            What’s it like in that insane place where you believe these things actually happened?

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            Insane place is right here:

            http://metsdaddy.com/2020/08/what-happened-to-luis-guillormes-playing-time/

            BTW, when Dave Klein and others mocked your hysterical reference to Ted Williams, you just started deleting posts. That is why it says 5 replies and there are only two.

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