While Travis d’Arnaud continues to gain experience in the big leagues and grab the attention of many Mets fans, Kevin Plawecki continues his trek through New York’s minor league system. Taken with the 35th overall pick in last year’s MLB draft, the former Purdue catcher is enjoying a solid 2013, which is also his first full season of professional baseball.
After getting drafted, he joined the Brooklyn Cyclones in the NYPL. He accumulated 216 at-bats, hitting .250/.345/.384 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. He came out of the gate hot in 2013 with the Savannah Sand Gnats, being among the league leaders in batting average and doubles for most of the first half. Before getting promoted to High-A St. Lucie following the SAL All-Star game, Plawecki was hitting .314/.390/.494 with six home runs, 43 RBIs, and 24 doubles for the Gnats.
He continued hitting well with St. Lucie, but his power decreased a bit in 204 at-bats. Despite hitting just two home runs, he still collected 14 doubles and 37 RBIs, slashing at .290/.391/.392 on the season. He spent most of his year behind the plate catching, but also saw some time at DH and first base. He was able to display his arm, as well, throwing out 24% of would-be basestealers in the Florida State League.
Mike Kerwick of Baseball America took a moment this morning to shine the light on Plawecki, and highlighted that his three years of college ball have helped him in adjusting to life in the minor leagues. Learning to think with his fellow battery mate, call a game, and know all the details of any given moment were skills he developed during his three years as a Purdue Boilermaker.
Knowing the Mets are hoping they have their future catcher already in the big leagues with d’Arnaud, Plawecki is using that to get down on himself:
There’s not a whole lot I can do…No, it doesn’t discourage me at all. I’ll get my shot if I can continue to prove myself. In the meantime, I’m happy for him.
You expect any player in his situation to saw exactly what he said, but it’s still good to hear. He’s also absolutely right; if he keeps proving himself at each level, he’s bound to get his opportunity in the big leagues, whether it’s with the Mets or another team. For now, he can only control what immediately ahead of him.
He recently joined the Binghamton Mets in Double-A for their playoff run, and it’s expected that he’ll be starting the 2014 season there. If he plays well enough in the first half of Eastern League action, he could potentially get moved up to Triple-A, and maybe even a September call-up come a year from now.
In the NFL, it’s become more common in recent years for a team to have a two-headed attack in their backfield, employing two running backs capable of handling the workload by themselves. Instead of wearing them out, though, a team finds a partner in crime to share the workload so they can give defenses different looks, and keep their legs fresh toward the end of the season.
Who says this couldn’t happen at the catcher position? We’ve seen two catchers share a workload in the past, but it wouldn’t be at the same level of a d’Arnaud-Plawecki tag team if they both end up produce in the big leagues as expected. It could keep them both fresh throughout the year, and could potentially maximize their offensive production. Time will tell as to whether or not anything like this would ever happen, but it would be cool if it did, and it worked out.