Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

D'arnaud Working on Defense

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

D'arnaud Working on Defense

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After evaluating each of Travis d'Arnaud's MLB-leading 12 passed balls from last season, Bob Geren concluded the high total was an aberration.

Though some of the 12 were due to cross-ups between d'Arnaud and the pitcher, there were other times when he just failed to corral a pitch, including instances when he was trying to frame a ball. To Geren, they were plays d'Arnaud should've made.

"I told him, 'You got way too good hands to have this many passed balls. You should look at it like I'll never have one, I'm that good,' " said Geren, the Mets' bench coach. "He's kind of taken that as a challenge."

After a breakout season at the plate in 2014, d'Arnaud is attempting to shore up the defensive aspects that plagued him. Though d'Arnaud is great at framing strikes, he struggled to throw out opposing base stealers.

D'Arnaud ranked last in MLB with -15 defensive runs saved in 2014, according to

"Every day I try to get better and improve on every aspect of the defensive side," d'Arnaud said earlier in camp.

"I'm working on anticipating and thinking anticipation during the game. Just working on transferring the ball, on a throwing program, blocking."

Since his days in the minors, d'Arnaud always has been regarded as an offensive catcher, as his bat carried him to the top tiers of prospect rankings. Last year, he showed his offensive potential with a blistering second half, but his defensive skills lagged behind.

D'Arnaud tied with two others for the league lead in passed balls, but Geren -- a former catcher who works with the team's backstops -- saw improvement as the season went on. D'Arnaud did not allow a passed ball in September, and had only two in August.

In breaking down d'Arnaud's passed balls, Geren estimated two to three were due to cross-ups, a few could have been classified as a wild pitch and the remainders simply were missed by d'Arnaud. …

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