Kevin Plawecki, who is all of 22 today, was the Mets’ No. 1 catching prospect until the trade for Travis d’Arnaud. He was the second of the Mets’ two first-round draft picks last June, a supplemental selection for losing Jose Reyes to free agency. (The Mets drafted shortstop Gavin Cecchini ahead of him.) In 61 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones last season, he posted a .345 on-base percentage and .384 slugging percentage, with seven home runs and 27 RBI. He also had more walks (25) than strikeouts (24), a rare feat among contemporary ballplayers, while his defense has garnered mixed reviews.
History is against Plawecki, however, at least as far as being a first-string catcher in the majors is concerned. Consider that four of the franchise’s five long-term impact backstops (Grote, Stearns, Carter and Piazza) were imported from other organizations, and the legacy of the fifth (Todd Hundley) is tainted. Ron Hodges and Duffy Dyer get points for longevity, but each played 12 years and only twice amassed more than 200 at-bats in a season.
Also, Plawecki played for (indeed, excelled with) Perdue University, which has hardly been a springboard to major league stardom. Of 19 Perdue Boilermakers who made it to The Show, only two stand out: Bernie Allen, a steady if unspectacular second baseman from 1962–1973, and Moose Skowron, who earned four World Series rings with the Yankees and a fifth with the L.A. Dodgers. More typical of Perdue baseball alumni is former Met Jermaine Allensworth.
Still, Plawecki has the potential to blossom and one day supplant d’Arnaud or push him to another position. On the other hand, he could end up following in the spike prints of Ed Hearn and Alex Trevino.
Two guys named Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez are both celebrating their 30th birthdays today. The former is a catcher who once had a cup of coffee with Cubs and finished his pro career as a Binghamton Met. The latter, who never earned a save in his 53-game major league career, pitched for the Mexican team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic on the same staff with one-time Mets Elmer Dessens, Luis Ayala, Ricardo Rincon, and Oliver Perez.
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
American physician and health authority John Harvey Kellogg was born on this date in 1852. He is perhaps best known as the inventor of Corn Flakes, which led to the founding, with his brother Will, of the company that today we know as Kellogg’s. From 1970 to 1983, and again briefly in the early ’90s, Kellogg’s issued a series of “3D” baseball cards found in specially marked boxes of Corn Flakes. The first series, 75 cards in all, featured four members of the reigning 1969 World Champion Mets: Ed Kranepool (card No 1!), Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, and Tom Seaver. That last one, according to a recent look on eBay, could set you back $24.99.