PHILS INSIDER

Former Phillies prospect turns out to be a shrewd signing for Braves

PHILS INSIDER

Throughout October, we will take a look at how some former Phillies are performing in baseball's postseason.

Former Phillies prospect Travis d'Arnaud is enjoying quite the career rebirth this season.

D'Arnaud, who led all major league catchers in RBIs in 2020, drove in four runs in the Atlanta Braves' 9-5 win over the Miami Marlins in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series will be played Wednesday afternoon. The Braves have not played in the NLCS since 2001. 

D'Arnaud helped the Braves get off to a quick start in the series with three hits in Game 1, including a three-run homer in the seventh inning.

The big performance was just a continuation of what the 31-year-old catcher had done throughout his first season in Atlanta. In 44 games, he hit .321 with nine homers, 34 RBIs and a .919 OPS. 

The Braves have one of the most high-powered offenses in the game. They led the majors with an .833 OPS during the regular season and averaged 5.8 runs per game, second-most in the majors.

Atlanta's offense features some studs in NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman, young star Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall.

"This team is very talented," d'Arnaud said in a videoconference after Tuesday's win. "One through nine, everyone can do damage to all fields. It's pretty incredible.

"We've got a lot of weapons."

And d'Arnaud is surely one of them. He's so far proven to be an excellent signing by GM Alex Anthopoulos.

 

D'Arnaud has deep ties to the NL East.

He began his pro career in the Phillies organization after being selected 37th overall in the 2007 draft. The Phils selected pitcher Joe Savery with their first pick (19th overall) in that draft and grabbed d'Arnaud with a compensatory pick after losing free agent David Dellucci to Cleveland. 

D'Arnaud was beginning to emerge as a strong prospect in the low minors when the Phillies used him as part of the package to get Roy Halladay from Toronto in December 2009. Three years later, he was part of another headline-grabbing deal when the Blue Jays sent him and Noah Syndergaard to the Mets for a package that included NL Cy Young-winner R.A. Dickey.

D'Arnaud debuted with the Mets in 2013 and remained with them until he was released in May 2019. He was still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the Mets had seen enough and let him go after he went just 2 for 23 at the plate. D'Arnaud ended up briefly with the Dodgers then moved on to Tampa Bay, where he hit .263 with 16 homers and 67 RBIs in 92 games. That was good enough to earn him a two-year, $16 million contract in Atlanta.

Not a bad rebound after being released by the Mets, whose catching situation remains in flux.

And not a bad signing by the Braves, who are off to a good start in the NLCS.