Among all the variables in the sport of baseball, there’s one thing that remains constant: Travis d’Arnaud‘s effort in framing any and every pitch.
d’Arnaud has continued to be one of the more underrated free-agent signings from the past couple of seasons, earning his first Silver Slugger Award and guiding the Braves to a World Series Championship during his time with the Braves.
After signing a two-year, $16 million extension in August, Braves fans can expect to see d’Arnaud for seasons to come.
d’Arnaud looked ready for Opening Day during his spring training appearances, batting .353 with a 1.271 OPS while hitting a team-high three home runs, including this monster home run from just three days ago.
d’Arnaud proved to be a key piece in the Braves’ run to the World Series Championship, catching every inning of the Braves’ World Series victory over the Houston Astros.
At the plate during the World Series, d’Arnaud posted a .292 batting average and .875 OPS while hitting two home runs and racking up 14 total bases.
When comparing d’Arnaud’s slash lines from his past two seasons, the difference is… noticeable, to say the least.
- 2020: .321/.386/.533
- 2021: .220/.284/.388
Granted, d’Arnaud only played 60 games last season after a thumb injury kept him out of the lineup for a substantial amount of games. However, injuries have always kept d’Arnaud seeing limited action, with his career-high in games played sitting at 112 with the New York Mets in 2017.
As of right now, the Atlanta Braves are set to go into Opening Day with three catchers on their roster: d’Arnaud, Manny Piña and William Contreras.
The longtime Milwaukee Brewer provides a great backup for d’Arnaud and brings another reliable power bat to the clubhouse.
Over the past couple of weeks, it’s been circulating that Contreras could play a utility role heading into 2022, getting time in rightfield during spring training.
In d’Arnaud’s interview with Justin Toscano, the Atlanta Braves beat writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he said his personal goal was to win the NL East again this season. He also mentioned how much he enjoys the clubhouse when asked about the team’s biggest strength.
"“Clubhouse. Yeah. It’s rare to have guys messing around and talking about every little thing all the time.”"
Based on his spring training performance, d’Arnaud looks like he’s more than ready for the season and could provide another huge offensive year in 2022. Expect d’Arnaud to be reliable behind the plate and provide a solid bat to the Braves’ high-power offense.
2022 Projection: .252 BA, 14 HR, 43 R, 53 RBI, 3 SB.