Travis d’Arnaud tops Jonathan Mayo’s list of ‘Top 10 Catching Prospects’

Following up his post on Monday in which he ranked major league baseball’s ‘Top 10 Right-handed Pitching Prospects” (a list that included Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard  of the New York Mets at #’s 4 and 10 respectively), ‘Draft and prospect expert’ Jonathan Mayo revealed his P’rospect Watch: Top 10 Catchers’ list today and it was more good news for Mets fans.  Atop the list, as many expected he would be, was newly acquired Travis d’Arnaud.  Mayo had the following to say of the 24-year-old catcher:

d’Arnaud was drafted 37th overall by the Phillies in 2007 and signed for $837,500. After being a key piece in the Roy Halladay trade in 2009, d’Arnaud was again traded, this time to the Mets as the main player in the R.A. Dickey deal in December. d’Arnaud is a rare catcher who has plus raw power, will hit for average and play good defense behind the plate. The only knock on him has been injuries, as he has played more than 75 games just twice since being drafted and missed much of last season with a torn ligament in his knee. If he can stay healthy, d’Arnaud has the potential to be one of the best catchers in the National League.”

Click here to check out Mayo’s complete top 10 and see a short video of clip of d’Arnaud in action.  Back in December, when the Dickey trade was being discussed with Toronto, I tweeted Mayo asking what he thought of d’Arnaud and if he felt he’d be the long-term answer for the Mets behind the plate, to which he replied:

@ As long as he stays healthy, love him. And yes, long-term answer behind the plate.
Jonathan Mayo

Last week, on the Mike Francesca show on WFAN, Sandy Alderson didn’t rule out the possibility of d’Arnaud breaking camp with the big league club.   As Anthony McCarron of the Daily News wrote:

Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud has a chance to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster, Sandy Alderson said Thursday. And the Mets GM didn’t shut the door on pitching gem Zack Wheeler, either.

Based on what Alderson said in an interview on WFAN, d’Arnaud is more likely to go north with the Mets than Wheeler. But d’Arnaud, who was the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey trade, would have to win the starting catcher’s job to be on the Opening Day roster.

“I just don’t want to rule anything out,” Alderson said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to create false expectations for our fans or put pressure on Travis. He hasn’t played since last June (because of a knee injury). . . . As far as Opening Day is concerned, he could be with us. But we have a very capable veteran in John Buck as well.”

One other thing that McCarron pointed out in his post, which I found interesting, is that it’s quite evident just how high Alderson is on Travis d’Arnaud.

Here’s a snapshot of how high the Mets are on d’Arnaud: Alderson said that he tried to get two specific players from an unnamed team for Dickey, but the team balked. But when Alderson acquired d’Arnaud, the team called back and offered the same two players for d’Arnaud alone. Alderson said no, even though the Mets would’ve kept the other players acquired from Toronto.”

According to Baseball America, d’Arnaud ranked as the #1 prospect in the Blue Jays organization prior to being traded to New York, receiving the highest rankings for both batting average and power in their farm system.  Last season d’Arnaud hit .333 with 16 home runs in just .279 at-bats for Toronto’s then Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51′s.

For the California native, being sent to the Mets did not mark the first time he’d been traded in a deal involving a former Cy Young award winner as the young backstop actually came over to the Blue Jays in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia.  Recently, d’Arnaud was one of nine players named to the  Topps Triple-A All-Star Team, putting him in some prestigious young company. offered the following profile of the Mets newest catcher prior to him landing with New York:

When Toronto traded Roy Halladay to Philadelphia, d’Arnaud may not have been the top prospect in the deal, but he might end up being the best. He has terrific all-around skills that surpass those of current young big league catcher J.P. Arencibia. Behind the plate, d’Arnaud is agile and athletic, and he has plenty of arm to help control the running game. He started truly fulfilling his offensive potential with Double-A New Hampshire in 2011, showing the ability to hit for both average and power. He continued to hit the cover off the ball in 2012, putting up a slash line of .333/.380/.595 in 67 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. He got past a torn thumb ligament suffered while playing for Team USA to start the 2012 season on schedule, but a torn ligament in his left knee ended his regular season in late June.”

To see some of the industry reaction to the deal that sent Dickey to Toronto and brought d’Arnaud to the Mets, be sure to check out our previous post by clicking here.  Here’s a couple tweets I couldn’t resist including:

Mets fans should be absolutely thrilled with this potential deal that will land the long term solution at catcher in Travis D’Arnaud +

Evaluators around MLB are beyond shocked TOR is talking about trading Travis d’Arnaud for a player with one year on his contract, Dickey.
Buster Olney




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