I few weeks ago, I set a goal for myself: to add two current catchers to my player collection. Today, I can announce that I have decided on one of those catchers that will be part of my player collection, Travis d’Arnaud.
2014 Topps Opening Day #214
Not that it requires explanation, but I felt like I should share why I will begin collecting d’Arnaud. Aside from the obvious reason of his playing for the Mets, Travis strikes me as the type of player who actually wants to be a catcher, learn the position, and play behind the dish for a career.
Mostly, though, it was reading about the respect that the pitching staff has for him that made me such a big fan. There is an article that was written last June, that chronicled d’Arnaud’s demotion to Triple-A, and it mentions how much the pitchers enjoyed throwing to the young catcher and how taken aback they were to hear the news that he was being sent down.
That is the type of story that shines a light on the side of baseball that ignores the numbers. Yes, I enjoy, appreciate, and believe in the importance of statistical analysis. However, some things can’t be quantified. The respect that the pitchers have for a young catcher isn’t something that can be measured and put on the back of a baseball card. But for us true fans of the game, it deepens our appreciation for the players.