The injury bug has bit the New York Mets hard lately, with catcher Travis d’Arnaud and relief pitcher Jerry Blevins the latest victims. d’Arnaud is expected to be out at least three weeks with a fractured finger that he suffered as the result of a hit-by-pitch, and Blevins took a line drive off his left forearm and is expected to miss at least six weeks as he recovers from an injury that could’ve been much worse.
The Mets will turn to their Triple-A affiliate (The Las Vegas 51s) to fill the void left by these players. Hansel Robles was called up to replace Blevins in the bullpen, while Kevin Plawecki will be the backstop with d’Arnaud out.
Robles, a righty, will obviously not replace Jerry Blevins as the lefty specialist (that role will probably be turned over to Sean Gilmartin). Robles is projected by scouts to be a fringe player in the major leagues, but his minor league stats are good. Robles has been in the Mets’ system since 2009 and has a career minor league ERA of 3.11. He hasn’t let up a single earned run in 7.2 innings of work in Triple-A this season, but that is his only Triple-A experience. Robles moves to the deep end of the pool fairly quickly, but the Mets’ organization obviously sees him as a long-term solution while they wait for their incumbent bullpen arms to heal.
Meanwhile, Plawecki will get a chance to show what he can do behind and at the plate. Plawecki has been a top prospect in the Mets’ system since 2012. He spent half of 2014 in Double-A, batting .316 in 249 plate appearances. Then he moved up to Triple-A, where he batted .283 in 170 plate appearances. Plawecki doesn’t have great power (just 11 home runs in 2014) but has good bat control (he walked 30 times and struck out only 47 times last year). The biggest concern is that he may have a below-average throwing arm, meaning that base-stealers will test him early and often. If he can establish himself as a decent defensive catcher and brings his steady hitting with him to the majors, he can be a reliable everyday player in d’Arnaud’s absence.