"I want to improve, obviously, offensively," d'Arnaud explained to Serby. "Last year I didn’t do so well in the beginning of my debut, and I just want to go out there and take my singles and just try to make good contact, not do anything crazy. And defensively, just work with the staff and befriend the staff even more, so our relationship becomes stronger and our friendship becomes stronger so our trust goes up, and when we’re out there we trust each other."
Yadier Molina, Jose Molina, Russel Martin, Brian McCann and Buster Posey are among the catchers d'Arnaud admires in the game, but especially Martin's ability to frame pitches.
"He can make it look so presentable," d'Arnaud said. "That’s pretty much it, he makes every pitch look presentable, and he knows how to work with the umpires. Pitchers love throwing to him ’cause he has a game plan out there. He knows how to call a game well."
D'Arnaud is a really impressive and smart kid. While he recognizes the importance of being productive offensively, he knows his role behind the plate can be more critical. Considering his experience level, he seems to have an advanced knowledge and understanding of catching, the importance of framing pitches, and a solid approach to any given sequence. Of course, it always comes down to the talent on the mound, but d'Arnaud's abilities and dedication to improving can only help to enhance the strengths of his pitchers. In fact, every pitcher on the staff I talked to last season raved about d'Arnaud and loved throwing to him, and spoke about how good of a receiver he is.
D'Arnaud's problem is he hasn't been able to stay healthy over the last two years thanks to some bad luck. Unfortunately, that's the nature of his job, but thankfully his injuries have been the result of collision and impact and they're not chronic. Still, it's time lost, and it can ultimately impact his overall development. He has the talent on both sides of the ball to be a special player, so if he can get 140 or so games in this season, his overall potential might finally be realized.
Read more: Serby's Sunday Q&A with Travis d'Arnaud (Serby, NY Post)