There were high expectations for New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud when he came over in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, but already d’Arnaud is showing signs of living up to those expectations. He most likely won’t be starting the season in the majors, but the Mets have kept him in major league camp longer than they ordinarily would for a player they knew wasn’t going to make the team, and d’Arnaud has earned that right to stay in big league camp longer.
After missing the second half of last season with an injury, d’Arnaud has shown no signs of rust with the bat, hitting .333/.417/.467. Rarely has he looked overmatched by major league pitching or shown a hitting approach that lacks maturity and experience. He already looks the part of a middle-of-the-order hitter that can be a big-time run producer.
However, it’s defensively that d’Arnaud has been the most impressive. He has already received praise from members of the Mets pitching staff for his receiving abilities and for his mental approach to the game. D’Arnaud has worked hard to get to know the pitchers on the staff, as he tries to understand their stuff as well as their tendencies, and tries to establish a good working relationship with them. As nice as its been to watch d’Arnaud succeed at the plate during spring training, his work ethic with regard to what he does behind the plate has been far more impressive, and what he brings to the table defensively may be as valuable if not more valuable than his hitting.
There may not be anything d’Arnaud can do to put himself on the Mets opening-day roster, but he’s preparing himself as if he’s going to be the full-time starter from day one. For the Mets, this is wonderful to see, and is likely a sign of great things to come from d’Arnaud, who looks like he’s ready to fulfill all the expectations that have been bestowed onto him.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.