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2015 Mets season review: Travis d'Arnaud

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Despite being bitten twice by the injury bug, d'Arnaud took major strides forward both at the plate and behind it in 2015.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

If your barometer for Travis d'Arnaud's 2015 season involved staying off the disabled list, you were probably a bit disappointed. Despite two lengthy disabled list trips in the first half of the season, d'Arnaud had the breakout that many were predicting from him before the season began. Despite being limited to just 67 games due to those injuries, d'Arnaud managed to produce the best season by a Mets catcher in close to a decade. You could take that as both a credit to d'Arnaud and a swipe at Mets catchers since Mike Piazza vacated the position after 2005.

After a torrid second half of 2014, the expectations were rising for the Mets starting catcher heading into this season. Many experts pegged him as a potential breakout candidate and he began to make good on those predictions before leaving the Mets' game on April 18 with a fractured pinkie, suffered when he was hit by a pitch. That injury along with a subsequent setback, a bone bruise in his wrist, would cost d'Arnaud just shy of two months. Making his return on June 10, the Mets' catcher managed to stay off the disabled list for ten days before spraining his elbow in a collision at home plate with baserunner A.J. Pierzynski. The elbow would cost d'Arnaud another month on the disabled list and he finally returned for good on July 31.

As the Mets surged to the division title in August and September, d'Arnaud played a large role in the offense. The offensive upgrade over Kevin Plawecki was clear and his .256/.340/.464 line from July 31 through the end of the regular season was good for a 127 wRC+, outstanding for a catcher. For the entire season, d'Arnaud hit an impressive .268/.340/.485 with 12 home runs, 14 doubles, and a triple. His .218 isolated slugging percentage placed fourth among Mets hitters behind Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, and Michael Conforto.

Additionally, d'Arnaud was worth a total of 2.3 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs over roughly a third of a season, placing him 6th in the majors among all catchers. This is true even though most of the catchers surrounding him had 500 plate appearances or more. In recent Mets history, catcher has been a futile position, so it shouldn't be too shocking to hear that d'Arnaud's 2015 season places quite well. In fact, it is the second best season by a Mets catcher since 2006, when Paul Lo Duca barely edged out d'Arnaud with a 2.5 WAR. Beyond that, no other Mets catcher in recent times has exceeded the 1.5 WAR John Buck posted in 2013 (yikes!!!!).

Despite struggling mightily in the postseason to throw out opposing basestealers, many of d'Arnaud's defensive worries of 2014 were remedied. The 12 passed balls from 2014 were only a memory, as d'Arnaud allowed just 1 total in 2015 and the 9 errors from 2014 were cut down to 3 this past season. He also threw out 33% of basestealers during the regular season, an improvement from 19% the year before. It appeared d'Arnaud fell back into bad habits in the postseason but the major strides of the regular season shouldn't be ignored.

As it's been for years now, the biggest question with Travis d'Arnaud is always going to be about the injuries. Can he stay on the field long enough to have the impact everyone thinks he'll have? Even while missing a lot of time, d'Arnaud had himself an impressive season and looks geared to continue his rise in 2016.