Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#6: C Travis d'Arnaud

Name: Travis d'Arnaud
Position: Catcher
Acquired: Trade with Philadelphia in December 2009 (drafted 1st round, 2007)
Opening Day age: 22
Height/weight: 6'2", 195 lbs
Best/worst tool: Bat/speed

Scouting Report:

d'Arnaud is the most well rounded catcher in the Blue Jays farm system, as his only below average tool is his speed -- which is typically unimportant for a catcher. His bat is his best tool, as he has enough plate coverage to consistently make contact and put the ball in play to all fields. His power is developing, but is more gap power than true home run power. His offensive tools will likely result in .300, 30 double, 15-20 HR seasons in the big leagues. He is an average to above average defender, and has made improvements in recent years to both his footwork and arm behind the plate. Avoiding injury and getting consistent innings may be the biggest key to his defensive development. He's far more likely to win Silver Slugger awards than Gold Gloves.

2010 Stats: .259/.315/.411 (.726 OPS), 20 2B, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 20/63 BB/K

2010 Analysis:

His first season with the Blue Jays organization was very up and down. Playing with the High-A Dunedin affiliate, d'Arnaud started off the season on fire before suffering a back injury which caused him to miss a lot of time. Even after returning from the back injuries, he clearly wasn't the same hitter and struggled for the remainder of the year. Despite the injuries and late season struggles, he was still named as an Eastern League All Star, which speaks to his raw talent.

2011 Stats: .330/.398/.553 (.951 OPS), 23 2B, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 24/57 BB/K

2011 Analysis:

The 2011 season has been d'Arnaud's breaking out party, and has seen him jump to the twenties in most analysts mid-season prospect rankings. In addition to showing the outstanding hit tool he was known to possess but saw injuries suppress, d'Arnaud saw his power numbers jump to a 40 double, 20 HR pace -- both outstanding for a catcher, particularly one who is a solid defender. While a bit more patience would be nice, it's hard to pick apart a .951 OPS from a catcher.

Future outlook:

d'Arnaud has spent the entire 2011 season with Double-A New Hampshire, and he's likely to finish the season there as well. He is setting himself up for a start with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2012, and may see Toronto late in the year. d'Arnaud is the best and most well rounded catching prospect the Blue Jays have had in a long time, so unless Arencibia hits the cover off the ball in 2012, d'Arnaud might be taking over as the starting catcher in the 2013 season.

Perfect world projection: All-Star MLB catcher. d'Arnaud has all the tools, both offensively and defensively, to be one of the best catchers in baseball.

Worst case scenario: Average MLB starting catcher. d'Arnaud's tools give him a very high floor.

Most likely outcome: Above average MLB catcher, with All Star appearances in his prime years. Barring injury, d'Arnaud should be an exceptional catcher.

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