Trading away a Cy Young award winner is never easy, but the New York Mets made the choice to trade R.A. Dickey. Dickey, who was 38, was a highly popular figure with the fans so any Dickey trade would have to require a significant return. Sandy Alderson hopes that he acquired a significant difference maker in the form of top prospect Travis D'Arnaud. D'Arnaud is widely regarded as the best catching prospect in baseball, and Toronto had told teams earlier in the offseason that he was untouchable. Mets 101 has done some research on D'Arnaud and has prepared this Bio Blast for you to get to know the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey trade.
Mets 101 Bio Blast: Travis D'Arnaud
Date of Birth: February 10, 1989
Acquired: December 17th, 2012 via trade from Toronto Blue Jays
Vitals: 6'2, 195 pounds, Bats Right, Throws Right
Scouting Report: D'Arnaud was originally drafted out of high school in 2007 as a first round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies. D'Arnaud was then traded to Toronto in 2010 as part of the Roy Halladay trade, where he blossomed into one of the best catching prospects in baseball. D'Arnaud is a gifted offensive player who has gap to gap power and can hit for a good average. Most scouts project D'Arnaud as a high average hitter who can hit 20-25 home runs and drive in 80-90 runs a year. D'Arnaud has the ability to be the rare catcher who can hit in the middle of a major league lineup, something most Mets fans have gotten used to when Mike Piazza and Gary Carter called Queens home.
D'Arnaud is a top 20 prospect in all of the majors, and it is not just for his skill with the bat. D'Arnaud has shown an ability to call a great game and is a sound defensive catcher with a strong arm. While he is not the greatest at throwing out base runners, D'Arnaud is young and can develop that skill over time. D'Arnaud will likely start 2013 in Triple-A Las Vegas for a couple of reasons. The first of which involves the fact that he missed the second half of the 2012 season with a knee injury, so D'Arnaud could use a little more seasoning at the minor league level. The second involves the free agency rules, in which the Mets will control D'Arnaud's rights for an extra year if he is not recalled to the major league roster before the season's 21st day. That would mean, in laymans terms, that D'Arnaud would not be eligible for free agency until 2019 instead of 2018 (if he were to open the season behind the plate). The Nationals and Angels each employed this strategy this past season with rookie stars Bryce Harper and Mike Trout and it worked out smoothly for them. As far as a big league comparison, D'Arnaud projects to play a similar role for the Mets as the one Brian McCann plays for the Braves. If the Mets can find that kind of production from D'Arnaud, they will be much better off in the long term.
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