Mets Kevin Plawecki A Valuable Trade Chip
Catching depth is a strength of the New York Mets. Travis d’Arnaud, considered by ESPN’s Keith Law to be baseball’s 36th best prospect, made his Major League debut late last season. Acquired in the RA Dickey with Toronto, D’Arnaud is the undisputed starting catcher. His presence spurs trade discussions regarding 2012 first round pick, Kevin Plawecki.
With Plawecki, The New York Mets most valuable trade chip may not be Rafael Montero. Yes, pitching depth is the primary strength of the Mets farm system. Yes, Montero is the best pitching prospect not viewed as untouchable. But the Mets are not just a farm system built on pitching. Catching is a secondary strength.
Kevin Plawecki presents an attractive combination at catcher — a solid average contact hitter with defensive skills which are continuing to develop. Scouting Plawecki multiple times last season, his bat proved impressive. Utilizing a repeatable, compact swing that generated above average bat speed, Plawecki barreled every pitch he made contact with. A methodical hitter, Plawecki’s knowledge of the strike zone will result in high walk rates and low strikeout rates. His power presents as average, limiting his projection to 10 to 15 home runs in a full season.
Behind the Plate, Plawecki provided an easy target for pitchers to throw to. Physically, he resembles another New York catcher, the Yankees’ Brian McCann. They share the same body type and similar disposition behind the plate. Defensively, Plawecki flashed plus potential framing pitches, but struggled with pitches in the dirt and to the back hand side.
A late look pointed to improvement in both areas. His catch and throw abilities do lag behind the rest of his defensive game though. As our own Mike Newman pointed out last season at FanGraphs, Plawecki struggles with firing out from his catcher’s crouch, neutralizing any advantage his strong throwing arm may have. Barring a major injury, Plawecki is a safe prospect to project. Another season of development will boost Plawecki’s trade value.
Potential Trade Partners For Kevin Plawecki?
In last week’s article discussing Seattle Mariners infielder Nick Franklin, Montero was the only name suggested as a possible match between the two organizations. With fellow 2012 draftee Mike Zunino firmly entrenched at catcher for the Mariners, Kevin Plawecki doesn’t make sense. However, many organizations need help at catcher.
Last Month, Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro his organization’s biggest need is at Catcher. Their hope is to acquire a catcher by leveraging depth at shortstop. With the Mets biggest need being at shortstop, both teams match up well. If the Mets were intent on improving shortstop, a deal centered on Plawecki for the loser of the Didi Gregorius/Chris Owings competition would be fair for both organizations if the Mets were willing to add second piece.
While the New York Mets are more than one move away from contending in the National League East, the thought of Ruben Tejada as starting shortstop terrorizes Mets fans. For the organization to trade Kevin Plawecki, or other quality prospect, a shortstop must be involved.
17 Mar 2014 / Chris Blessing / 2
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