The New and Improved Travis d’Arnaud, Tampa Bay Rays Catcher

Travis d'Arnaud
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 15: Travis d'Arnaud #37 of the Tampa Bay Rays connects for his second solo home run of the game in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The New and Improved Travis d’Arnaud

After Tampa Bay Rays catcher Travis d’Arnaud put on a show against the New York Yankees Monday night, going three for three with three home runs, it has many talking about him. D’Arnaud has never been a star player, but his play as of late has turned some heads. Let’s take a look at his recent play, what has changed, and if this is just a fluke.

Past Years

This is d’Arnaud’s seventh year in the majors and his first with the Rays. He began his career in 2013 with the New York Mets, where he stayed until just this year. With the Mets, d’Arnaud tallied 47 home runs, 164 RBI, and a .244 batting average. His best year came in  2017, where he racked up 16 home runs, 57 RBI, and a batting average of .293. While these aren’t numbers that jump off the page, the point is he was a solid player.

d’Arnaud’s highest home run total was 16, which he achieved back in 2017, and his highest batting average was in 2015, when he batted .250.

This Year

Things are different this year, though, for the seven-year veteran. d’Arnaud currently holds his best batting average of his career at .282. He is also already at nine home runs on the season, putting him over halfway to his career best.

In his last seven games, d’Arnaud is batting .440 with four home runs and eight RBI. Over his last 15, he is batting .333 with six home runs and 13 RBI. These numbers show that d’Arnaud is on a hot streak, but two questions remain: why did this happen, and will it continue.

d’Arnaud has kept his batting average over .300 for the past month. It’s never easy to say if a player’s hot streak will continue, as every MLB player has their ups and downs, but in this case, d’Arnaud should continue to put up increased numbers.

How It Happened

This is not unheard of, and it has happened with the Rays with another former Mets player, Lucas Duda. When Duda came over to the Rays, he quickly got on a hot streak. Duda racked up 13 home runs in just 52 games — more than half the amount of home runs he hit that season. This is just what happened for d’Arnaud when he came over to the Rays — his production quickly ramped up. A change of scenery after playing for the same ball club for so long can do a lot for a player in a slump.

New coaches can also have a significant impact on their players, and the coaching changes for d’Arnaud just might have been that change he needed. Players who get into slumps get out of them in different ways. Some have to clear their minds, while others require a new set of templates to boss them up. d’Arnaud showed his potential in his early days with the Mets, and he is now back on that track.

There is no way to tell for sure how this hot streak came about, but these are just some of the ways we have seen it happen before.

Looking Ahead

If d’Arnaud can continue this play, he can quickly put together his best season yet. A player’s past doesn’t always dictate how the rest of their season will go. Things can change in a heartbeat, and Travis d’Arnaud is a perfect example.

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1 COMMENT

  1. You have to understand D’Arnaud’s history and have watched him a lot to know how often he self-sabotaged at the plate and likely will again.

    He has history of heating up and then messing with the stance, approach and mechanics that got him there.

    It happens every year, sometimes in same game and even same AB. Sometimes for weeks or minths at a time. He does it without thinking operating on what feels good at any given time even when self-destructive and totally ridiculous. He then settles into that bad/altered stance/mechanics eventually which slows his bat, impacts ability to cover the plate and drops his performance into major slump.

    Some examples – open stance, even stance, close to plate, further away, toe tap, short leg kick, higher leg kick, arms higher, arms lower, bat curl, excessive and extreme bat curl….

    He also has bad habit behind the plate of keeping his throwing hand in his lap while trying to block balls in the dirt. He has at times tried to rid himself of that, but it tends to return.

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