Sunday was an uneven day in what has been an uneven season for Travis d’Arnaud.
The Mets catcher had a fine day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a walk in a 6-4 loss to Miami at Citi Field. His time behind the plate, though, did not go nearly as well: The Marlins stole three bases in three attempts, two by Dee Gordon.
This marked the continuation of d’Arnaud’s struggles in this department. Opponents are 39-for-47 when running on d’Arnaud, giving them an 83 percent success rate. Entering Sunday’s action, only Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann had a success rate worse than d’Arnaud’s 17 percent (among the 29 players who have caught at least 500 innings).
Frustrating as this part of d’Arnaud’s game may be, there are other elements to catching besides throwing out runners, which is why the 28-year-old d’Arnaud remains a part of the Mets’ plans going forward, as Newsday reported earlier this month.
One of these skills is pitch-framing, something the Mets highly value and one that d’Arnaud has excelled at, per the publicly available measures of this at places such as Baseball Prospectus.
D’Arnaud, who did not speak to reporters after Sunday’s game, has been charged with only two passed balls this season, something only three catchers who have caught as many innings as he has can say (Yan Gomes, Austin Hedges and Salvador Perez; Buster Posey has been charged with only one).
According to BP metrics, the combination of d’Arnaud’s above-average pitch-framing and blocking actually outweighs the negative value from his throwing, as he rates as an above-average defensive catcher on the aggregate.
Offensively, it has been a different story this season, as d’Arnaud is on track to have the lowest batting average (.231) since his 31-game stint as a call-up in 2013. His .279 on-base percentage also has been a career low.
Still, d’Arnaud has a track record of offensive success at the major-league level and began this season with a career .245/.311/.393 slash line, all of which were above the average marks for a catcher.
Terry Collins said Sunday that he hopes last week’s promotion of fellow catcher Kevin Plawecki can light a fire under d’Arnaud and help him regain that form. Said Collins, “Travis can hit the ball as good as anybody, but I think some friendly competition is good. It motivates you as you head down the last six weeks.”