My favorite position on the field is catcher. I love the art , the science of catching. It is in my blood, my father was a catcher, my brother and I were catchers. There is just something about that position that appeals to me. I always watch and pay attention to the catchers, study the movements, the foot work, releases, just enjoy it all. The Mets have been blessed over the years with some terrific catchers. Jerry Grote, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley. Even some of the backups while not always great were solid . Duffy Dyer, Ed Hearn, Barry Lyons. And if only Mackey Sasser could throw back to the pitcher !
Now, we have the trio of Travis d’Arnaud, Rene Rivera, and Kevin Plawecki. None have distinguished themselves last season. d’Arnaud is the incumbent and will have the job. At 28 years of age he is facing a turning point in his career. After struggling last year, d'Arnaud when into the offseason knowing he had to improve his offense and his defense in order to stay in the lineup. It was clear he missed Bob Geren who left the Mets coaching staff and left the Mets without a catching coach. There were times Travis looked lost behind the plate and that defensive failure affected his offense. The Mets now have a catching instructor on their staff to work with both d'Arnaud and the other catchers.. Glenn Sherlock was hired away from the Diamondbacks in order to help New York's catchers, and Sandy Alderson is confident the hiring will prove to be successful. The pressure is definitely on d’Arnaud to prove that he can do what he showed us in 2015 and can handle this talented pitching staff. He also has to stay healthy. Travis has had a history of injuries and must prove he can avoid injuries. d’Arnaud will be the starting catcher.
Rene Rivera was picked up by the Mets , and went on to be the personal catcher ofNoah Syndergaard, and was the best defensive catcher on the staff. His offense was non existent, except for a few key hits, he clearly was on the team for his defense. He projects as the Opening Day backup.
What to do with Kevin Plawecki? The young catcher did not perform as well offensively, as we all thought. However, he did an admirable job working with the pitchers, running games, and defensive prowess. He has reworked his swing ,over the past two winters and had a decent spring with the bat last year however, not playing every day hurt him and he did not hit at all and was sent down to the minors. He hit pretty well at Vegas clearly showing he needs to play regularly. While I like Plawecki, I see him starting the season in Las Vegas waiting for the call to the bigs whether with the Mets or with someone else.
And lets not forget the pitching staff needs to help out a little bit, by holding runners on base better, and giving the catchers a better chance of throwing out runners.
It sure is going to be a fun spring and a fun season to see how all of this plays out.