2017 may very well be Travis D’Arnaud’s last chance to prove himself to the Mets. Once considered to be the best prospect in his position, D’Arnaud hasn’t been able to sustain the same type of success in the majors that he did in the minors. Injuries, an inability to throw baserunners out, and poor performance at the plate eventually led the Mets to attempt to trade him for Jonathon Lucroy around the deadline last season. When the Brewers didn’t view him as the player many scouts thought he would be, they refused the offer. D’Arnaud ended up losing the starting job to Rene Rivera.
D’Arnaud ended up finishing the 2016 season with only 8 more games played and at-bats than 2015, hitting just 4 homers and driving in a minuscule 15 runs. His OPS dropped from .825 in 2015 to .629 in 2016. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright drove in 18 runs in 2016. D’Arnaud batted .127 with runners in scoring position last season.
The Mets brought in Glen Sherlock, nicknamed Sherlock Holmes, to help the Mets catchers with their hitting and defense. The hope is that he can solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Travis D’Arnaud’s bat. Bob Geren had a similar role when he was the Mets bench coach. When Geren departed for Los Angeles after the 2015 season, the Mets didn’t have anyone with catching experience to help fix D’Arnaud. Throughout the offseason, D’Arnaud has been working with Sherlock as well as with hitting coach Kevin Long to try to improve on his hitting and defense.
According to Kevin Long and D’Arnaud, they were able to get rid of D’Arnaud’s batting stance of having the bat in front of his head, pointing at where the pitcher would be, before having to bring the bat all the way around. Getting rid of this would allow for a quicker swing for D’Arnaud, who always seemed to be late on pitches last season.
If D’Arnaud is still playing poorly early in the 2017 season, the Mets may have to look for a new catcher. A healthy and helpful D’Arnaud would add even more depth to an already powerful lineup for the Mets. The 2017 season could make or break his career.