Aug 19

Sickels Weighs In On D’Arnaud

mejia d'arnaud

John Sickels on Minor League Ball featured Travis d’Arnaud as his Prospect of the Day and pointed out how steadily his throwing has improved as evidenced by increasing caught-stealing percentages since turning pro. So for those of you worried about those three stolen bases against him this weekend, don’t go jumping to any conclusions, and it was not like the pitcher’s didn’t play a part in it.

Here is what he had to say regarding D’Arnaud’s bat and projectability:

Offensively, his best tool is power. He was rather impatient early in his career but has made progress with the strike zone. He looked dramatically improved in that department for Vegas this spring and summer, when he wasn’t hurt anyway. His power usually comes when he pulls the ball, although he is more willing to take something the opposite way than he was earlier in his career.

I don’t see him as a .300 hitter at the major league level, but he should be good for a solid .250-.270 range, with an adequate OBP and better-than-average power. He could exceed those projections in his peak seasons.

Back in February, I wrote a Prospect Smackdown article comparing d’Arnaud with Mike Zunino of the Seattle Mariners, who is d’Arnaud’s primary competition as the top catching prospect in baseball. I concluded that I preferred Zunino very slightly because he was two years younger. Zunino has had his own set of problems this year. Catchers get hurt a lot and they often don’t have linear development curves.

Although I don’t see him in the Buster Posey or Joe Mauer class of superstar catcher, d’Arnaud produces quality play on both sides of the ball. If he can avoid getting hurt too often, d’Arnaud will be a fixture in the Mets lineup for years to come.

By the way, despite an report yesterday that the Mets will be keeping d’Arnaud once John Buck returns on Tuesday, the team says they haven’t made an official determination about that yet and it’s still up for debate.

Oct 10

If they’re going to have instant replay, then do it right ….

It’s one thing when a player makes a mistake or a manager a bad decision. That’s part of the game. It’s expected. It is the human element.

It’s also expected umpires will blow calls, but in that case, there’s a vehicle in place to get it right. Baseball has introduced technology to work with the human side. Unfortunately, it’s only used on home runs, but the game is far more than the long ball.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.


Who knows … perhaps it would be the Tigers playing the Yankees had plate umpire Randy Marsh got it right and called it a HBP on Brandon Inge with the bases loaded Tuesday in the Metrodome. Replay got it and the Tigers should have had a run. Maybe they beat the Twins, maybe they don’t, but we shouldn’t be wondering.

And, who knows what Phil Cuzzi saw a ball when he ruled Joe Mauer’s ball off Melky Cabrera’s glove foul instead of fair, which it was by close to half a foot if not more. Later, when it was too late, the umps admitted they got it wrong. Worse, Cuzzi was the extra umpire used for the postseason.

Instead of a runner on second and no outs, the Twins had a man on first with no outs. The Twins eventually loaded the bases with no outs, but with the human element, did not score. They lost in the bottom of the inning.

Had the play been ruled correctly and the inning unfolded as it did, the Twins would have scored. The ump’s admission does not remove them from the brink of elimination.

“The left field umpire Phil Cuzzi saw the ball foul and called what he saw, rendered the ball foul decision,” crew chief Tim Tschida said. “Afterwards, like any close play, we went in and looked at it and it’s a clear indication that an incorrect decision was rendered.”

There’s a vehicle in place to get it right and it should be expanded.

Unlike football where the action takes place anywhere and the view is often obstructed by fly bodies, baseball has fixed locations in the foul lines and bases. It’s far easier to correct plays. Even on trapped balls in the outfield, there’s rarely another body to blur the view.

If the goal is to get it right, then MLB should use everything at its disposal to ensure the game is correctly called. There’s too much at stake otherwise.