Phillies Prospect Interview: Travis D'Arnaud

Matthew Stucko sat down with Lakewood catcher Travis D'Arnaud recently to talk about how things are going for him early in the season and other topics of interest.

Phillies' catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud is back in the South Atlantic League this season behind the plate for the Lakewood BlueClaws.

D'Arnaud was drafted by the Phillies 37th overall in 2007. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound catcher passed on his commitment to Pepperdine University and signed with the Phillies. His older brother, Chase, was selected in the fourth round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

D'Arnaud debuted in the Gulf Coast League hitting .241 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 141 at-bats over 41 games. Last year, he played in the New York-Penn League and after hitting .309 with four home runs and 25 RBI in 175 at-bats over 48 games before being promoted to low Class-A Lakewood. He finished the last 16 games of the season there and hit .297 (19-for-64) with two home runs and five RBI.

This season, D'Arnaud has only thrown out 21 percent (8-for-31) of runners and is hitting .219 with three home runs and 20 RBI through 27 games.

We caught up with D'Arnaud to talk about being drafted the same year as his older brother and his experience so far in professional baseball.

What was it like for your family last year when you and your brother were each selected in the draft?
I was home when it happened. We were all going nuts. We were both happy for each other, especially because it was by teams from Pennsylvania so we can get a lot of times to play against each other. I actually only played him once in high school and that was it up until last year when we played each other all the time in the New York-Penn League. In the house we were just all going nuts and happy for each other.

With your brother having gone to college playing at Pepperdine, did he ever try to sway you towards staying in school and playing baseball or did being draft as a first-round supplemental pick make it an easy choice to go pro?
My brother wanted me to go to college. I had signed with Pepperdine as well. It would have been the first time since little league that we would have played on the same team, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity that I had of being drafted especially because I wanted to play baseball. School is not for everyone and I would rather play baseball any day than having to deal with school.

How are you feeling so far this season?
So far this season I feel pretty good. I'm really excited to be playing every day. I love coming to the ballpark. I feel like I am all around playing pretty well and controlling the staff. I just keep working hard. My defense is strong and I am trying to get my hitting back to what it was last year.

How has your transition been from high school to professional baseball?
The game speeds up and there is more consistency. Compared to high school, you don't get as much opportunities there than in professional baseball. In high school there is more time to relax, but now the game speeds up more and pitchers are throwing the ball harder. You get used to it. It is the same thing for catching.

How about your legs? Now you're playing full-season baseball pretty much going out there everyday to catch whereas high school it was never like that.
Last year it hit me with about ten games left. When I got called up to Lakewood, my legs were just done. Squatting behind the plate was bothering me a lot. Throwing wise my arm was done. This year there has been no problems so far.

So knowing that happened last year, what did you do during the off-season to try and help prevent that kind of fatigue?
I worked out real hard during the off-season. I did a lot more stretching. I did yoga to make sure that I would have flexibility and strength so that towards the end of the year I wouldn't feel the same way I did last year.

Intense yoga?
Yeah. I did a program with my mom.

You and your mom have a close relationship?
I have a close relationship with her and the rest of my family.

Do you talk to them often?
I talk to my mom probably three times a week. My dad is coming to watch me play some games in West Virginia. My mom and sister are coming in June to see me and my brother play each other too.

So you and your brother only played each other once up until last year even though you each went to different high schools. Now, you two have another season to get the chance to play each other in the South Atlantic.
My brother went to play baseball at a higher education school when I went to the high school I did because that's where all my friends went and it was a better baseball school. I was an honor roll student. I got my grades up and did what I needed to do in order to play baseball.

How do you like it here at Lakewood?
I love it here. At first, it was kind of cold, but now it is finally warming up and I am starting to like it. The only time I've ever been here was briefly last year when I was called up and I am enjoying being here again.

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