Phillies Prospect #6: Travis D'Arnaud

The Phillies are blessed in that they have a number of quality catching prospects working their way through the system. When all is said and done, there are some who believe Travis D'Arnaud will be the best of the bunch.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the first round (37th overall) of the 2007 Draft.
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6' 2"  Weight: 195 pounds
Birth Date: February 10, 1989
2008 Team(s): Williamsport (48 G), Lakewood (16 G)
Positions/Games: C (58 G)
School: Lakewood HS (California)
2008 Ranking: 22nd

Why D'Arnaud moved up to number 6: The Phillies made a good choice in grabbing Travis D'Arnaud in the first round of the 2007 Draft. Even though at the time they already had a couple of good catching prospects, it's hard to turn away from a guy with D'Arnaud's talents and potential. In his first pro season, D'Arnaud was just getting his feet wet and didn't really show much. Last season though, he was a different player in that he appeared comfortable and in control of the game. Offensively, he was impressive enough at Williamsport to advance to Lakewood for 16 games and he again put up strong numbers and continued to impress with the BlueClaws. In fact, his performance was so good that some are beginning to wonder if maybe D'Arnaud will wind up being an even better catching prospect than highly valued Lou Marson.

Category Travis D'Arnaud NY - Penn League
AB/2B 13.46 20.04
AB/3B 175.00 120.63
AB/HR 43.75 64.40
AB/RBI 7.00 8.54
AB/R 8.33 7.54
AB/BB 9.72 10.29
AB/KO 6.03 4.04
AVG .309 .252
OBP .371 .325
SLG .463 .365
Categories with numbers in white show areas where D'Arnaud outperformed the average player in the New York - Penn League during the 2008 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: In his first season as a pro, D'Arnaud struck out once every 6.6 plate appearances, but most believed that by gaining consistency in his mechanics and shortening his swing, D'Arnaud could improve on that number, but the improvement wasn't as much as some would have hoped as D'Arnaud struck out once every 6.9 plate appearances last season. That's not a stat that's going to kill D'Arnaud as long as he doesn't let it get higher and as long as he continues to keep developing the rest of his offensive game. Where he really showed improvement was in staying away from bad pitches and he drew far more walks last season than he did in the Gulf Coast League, giving a nice increase to his on-base percentage. The next thing for D'Arnaud to develop will be some power, but he's not likely to ever be known for being a power-hitting catcher, which is okay, because his other skills will make up for that.

Baserunning and Speed: D'Arnaud has just enough speed to steal a base here and there, but isn't going to steal many. He is smart in all aspects of the game and doesn't run himself into many outs on the basepaths.

Defense: The Phillies love to find catchers who know how to work with pitchers and can handle themselves defensively and D'Arnaud fits that mold perfectly. His ability to throw out runners has been a let down in the pros, because he has a better arm than he has shown so far. Mechanically, he's pretty well set, but last season he threw out just 19% of would-be base stealers, which is well below average. Pitchers like throwing to D'Arnaud and he's looking to close the holes in his game defensively, which will help him. Right now, while his defense is pretty strong, there are key areas that he can continue to grow into.

Projection: D'Arnaud is slowly developing a devoted crowd that believes he will be better than Lou Marson when all is said and done. Just to be put into the same category as Marson is a compliment and only time will tell if D'Arnaud can surpass Marson at some point. The way things stand right now, D'Arnaud would figure to have everything necessary to develop into a starting major league catcher and possibly be a very good catcher at the major league level.

Travis D'Arnaud's career stats

2007 GCL 4 20 .241 41 141 18 34 3 0 4 4 23 .278 .348
2008 Williamsport 4 25 .309 48 175 21 54 13 1 1 18 29 .371 .463
2008 Lakewood 2 5 .297 16 64 12 19 5 0 0 5 10 .357 .469
TOTALS 10 50 .282 105 380 51 107 21 1 5 27 62 .335 .421

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