D'Arnaud is familiar with Cashman Field as a former Jay prospect. Will he make a reappearance now as a Met? Their AAA affiliate has moved to Las Vegas.
Zack Wheeler and recently acquired Travis D'Arnaud will be acquainted next week as pitchers and catchers report for spring training. The "can't miss" prospects will garner a lot of attention in camp as they're considered by just about everyone to be the organizations #1-2 prospects. Baseball Americfa's yearly prospect handbook was published before the notable R.A. Dickey deal that brought back the healthy haul of young talent. There is mixed reviews on who will be more valuable moving forward.
What is my stance? My gut feeling tells me that Wheeler is more of a sure thing. While young pitchers are usually at a higher risk for injury, D'Arnaud seems to be the riskier proposition. After being traded from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay deal in 2009, he's been saddled with injuries. He's been slowed down numerous ailments. Back issues, a concussion, and most recently in 2012 his knee. He tore his posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This didn't require surgery, but he missed the entire 2nd half of the season.
Is he injury prone? Or has he just been unlucky? It could be a little of both, but I'm still sold on him being at least an above average regular. At a premium position, I'd welcome that production for the years to come with open arms. His well rounded skills across the board make him the top catching prospect in the game today. Some could argue that Mike Zunino has a higher ceiling because of his power potential, but I still prefer D'Arnaud. I may be singing a different tune if he is bitten by the injury bug again this year, though.
What can I say about Wheeler that hasn't already been said? It's well known that he has a plus plus four-seam fastball, and an effective two-seamer to fend off lefties. His four pitch repertoire should keep hitters off balance, making it difficult to just sit on his fastball. The organization plans on him to anchor their #1 spot in the rotation down the road. I'll make a bold prediction that he starts on opening day in 2014.
As a Vegas local, the 51's will be fulfilling my baseball cravings again this summer. I'm banking on having the luxury of watching this dynamic duo do their thing, showcasing their skills at Cashman Field, at least for a couple of months anyway.
All of you passionate Mets fans now have an excuse to spend some time in "Sin City" this spring to witness the last stage of development of two prospects with a very bright future in the major leagues.
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