This spring, the Mets made sure that catcher Travis d’Arnaud batting stance changed. Last season was another disappointing one for the 28 year old. He had trouble staying healthy again, managing only about 270 plate appearances for the second year in a row. But even when healthy, he did not produce at the plate like the Mets expected.
Travis only hit to a .247/.307/.323 slash line in 2016, compared to .268/.340/.485 in 2015. His OPS dropped to .629 from .825 the previous year. The most noticeable difference was his ground ball rate, which went up to 52% in 2016 from only 37% back in 2015. You can see the increase in ground balls (green) from 2015 to 2016 in these BrooksBaseball charts:
Travis d’Arnaud Batting Stance Change
Travis worked with batting coach Kevin Long this spring to change his batting stance. He had been wrapping the bat so far around his head before each pitch that the bat was horizontal, with the bat head pointing at the pitcher. That made it hard to get the bat around in time to make solid contact with the ball. He also was striding wider than he had in the past. As Long told Newsday back in spring training:
What we’re trying to do with Travis is to try to get him to repeat the same swing every day. Travis can change like the wind at times.
d’Arnaud said to the Post.
I keep doing the same routine from when I get in the on-deck circle to when I get in the box. Then it’s natural from there. Everybody is keeping me accountable.
Travis is being paid $1.88M this year and is arbitration eligible next year. He’ll become a free agent in 2020. You can watch a video below of Travis talking about working on the new swing back in spring training:
Photo by slgckgc