Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fantasy Focus: Travis D'Arnaud Breakout Catcher

Travis D'Arnaud is extremely interesting to me as a potential late round fantasy draft pick/breakout candidate.  D'Arnaud is something of a post-hype sleeper.  He was drafted by the Phillies in 2007 and raked for his first few years in the minors.  He was part of Toronto's haul in the Doc Halliday trade.  When thinking of what he might be, I keep looking at his 2011 AA season in the Eastern League:  .311/.371/.542, 21 HR, 466 PA.  He was traded to the Mets in the RA Dickey deal and has battled a series of injuries.

He struggled in 2013 after recovering from an injury and 2014 started out rough too with first half numbers of .217/.292/.354.  He was sent to AAA Las Vegas where Wally Backman worked with him in getting his back foot closer to home plate to give him better coverage of the outside corner.  D'Arnaud came back with a new stance and a new, more aggressive approach at the plate.  His second half numbers were much better:  .265/.313/.474.

Steamer's 2105 projections split the difference between is overall 2014 and his second half split for a .251/.313/.428 with 17 HR in 503 PA.  Even with the modest projection, he has the 9'th highest SLG% of all MLB catcher projected to have more than 400 PA's.  While fantasy draft rankings will likely change a lot before your draft, most of them currently have D'Arnaud ranked in the 13-16 range.


Yasmani Grandal is another guy who could probably stand to be more aggressive at the plate.  He may not do that in LA where the new guys in charge love high walk rates, but Grandal will likely be the primary catcher in LA which should be a more hitter-friendly park than Petco despite the moved-in fences in San Diego.  Grandal had his career side-tracked by a PED related suspension.  He's something of a post-hype sleeper himself at this point.  I kind of expect the Dodger fans in my league to be all over him, though.


Lastly, if you are looking for a deep sleeper, look no farther than our very own Andrew Susac who is a foul tip off Buster Posey's face mask away from a starting gig in San Francisco and should be good for 15-20 dingers right off the bat if he does.

1 comment:

  1. I think d'Arnaud is going to have his breakout season similar to how Rendon and Arenado had theirs in 2014. He's displayed hitting ability, low strikeouts, and power getting acclimated to the majors—barring injury, I think he's going to be a top fantasy catcher in 2015. His game and potential is reminiscent to me of a young Posey.