Kevin Plawecki, the New York Mets’ second selection (35th overall) in the 2012 MLB Draft, has had his breakout minor league season rewarded with an invite to the Mets’ Spring Training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Splitting time behind the plate for the class-A affiliates Savannah Sand Gnats and St. Lucie Mets, Plawecki hit a combined .305/.390/.448 with eight home runs and 80 RBIs. However, it’s not his offense that’ll keep him from competing for a spot on the Mets’ 2015 roster.
Expected to be the double-A Binghamton Mets’ opening day catcher, Plawecki (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) is a big, sturdy presence behind the plate with good hands and durability. His deficiencies are low arm strength and a habit of blocking the ball with his body, though rumbles of a position change to first base are premature. The Midwest native has been working hard at proving critics wrong on his defense.
For now, the Mets are interested to see if Plawecki blazes through another transitional year as he did going from college to pro ball. One of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award and Big Ten player of the year for Purdue University in 2012, Plawecki will only be 23 when the season starts. His 2014 spring invite is more honorary than honest — don’t expect to see him in Queens until mid-2015 – but it gives the kid a taste of the MLB experience, a sign the Mets are grooming their investment for something more.
Top prospect Travis d’Arnaud has to prove he can stay on the field and be a capable offensive player when he is. Plawecki’s improvement on the defensive side could make d’Arnaud expendable if the latter proves to be fragile or inept at batting much above the Mendoza line. Or, the duo could one day find themselves sharing backstop duties at Citi Field.
Either way, Plawecki’s future with the Mets (or another team) is loaded with possibility. Expect to hear his name a lot more if the Mets find themselves in the thick of a playoff hunt come August.