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BALLER MOVE: Target as Low-End #1 Catcher

ANALYSIS: The rigors of the catcher position mean that catchers typically don’t offer the same five-category upside as other positions, but recently, the number of deserving backstops has increased. In 2014, the catcher position posted a 93 wRC+, up from 82 just 12 years prior. Consequently, once the few true stars are off the board, there are many interchangeable options.

Travis d'Arnaud in particular has a ton of upside. He had a disappointing start to his career, suffering several injuries and playing himself into an early 2014 demotion to Triple-A. There, he worked to alter his stance and cover more of the plate. Recalled three weeks later, d’Arnaud paired this mechanical change with a more aggressive plate approach. While his walk rate dropped to just six percent, his isolated power doubled, his line drive rate spiked and his OBP went up almost 50 points. The injury history is worrisome, but if the Mets move d’Arnaud to left field, as they have discussed, his value would increase. He would maintain catcher eligibility without having to actually catch. The rising d'Arnaud is worth a flier. If he doesn't perform, there should be plenty of serviceable options on the wire.


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