Despite two straight seasons plagued by injury, Travis d'Arnaud placed in the top 40 on the top 100 MLB prospect rankings produced by Baseball America (#38), Keith Law (#36), and MLB.com (#22). Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu aside, d'Arnaud is the oldest player in the Baseball America rankings at 25 years old. So as encouraging as it is that prospect evaluators still have such high regard for his talent, the time has come for him to graduate to the big leagues for good. 2014 is the season for him to stay on the field and produce.
d'Arnaud did not impress with the bat during his 112 plate appearances with the Mets last August and September. He often looked overmatched and posted a slash line of just .202/.286/.263. However, his pitch framing talent caught the eye of Mets pitchers, beat writers, sabermetricians, and our own Rob Castellano. d'Arnaud could be the best all-around catcher the Mets have had since... Paul Lo Duca that one season? Gary Carter?
Mike Piazza spent last week as a special instructor in Mets camp, working with the catchers. It must have been a thrill for d'Arnaud, who lists Piazza as his favorite childhood player. I imagine Piazza's tutoring went something like this:
"Travis, when you're at bat, just do this"
I expect d'Arnaud to improve on his 2013 big-league showing but not make The Jump just yet. I also see him sitting out with an injury at some point. Post your d'Arnaud projection in the comments in the same format as below. I'll compare our projections to actual results at season's end.