Travis E. d'Arnaud (born February 10, 1989) is an American professional baseball catcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2013.
Travis d'Arnaud was born in Long Beach, California, to Marita (Filipino-American), an elementary school teacher, and Lance d'Arnaud, an entrepreneur. His older brother, Chase, is also a professional baseball player for the Atlanta Braves. d'Arnaud also has a younger sister, Lindsey. A fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers growing up, his favorite player was Mike Piazza.
Lance d'Arnaud converted his son to catcher at age 12 because the team that he was coaching had a vacancy at that position. d'Arnaud attended Lakewood High School in Lakewood, California. As a high school ballplayer, d'Arnaud was named Lakewood's co-Athlete of the Year along with Artesia High School basketball player James Harden, a future NBA All-Star.
He had committed to play college baseball for the Pepperdine Waves of Pepperdine University after high school, the same school for which his brother played, but was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the supplemental first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, the 37th overall pick. He chose to void his college commitment and signed a minor league contract for $832,500.
In 2007, d'Arnaud started his professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies' Rookie League affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Phillies. He played 41 games in the GCL and put together a .241 batting average and a .626 OPS. In 2008, d'Arnaud began the season with the Phillies' Class-A Short Season affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York–Penn League. He played 48 games in the NYPL, hitting .309 with an OPS of .833 and was selected for the mid-season All-Star game. From there he was promoted to the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws.
In 2009, d'Arnaud played with the BlueClaws where he remained all year, playing in 126 games. He hit .255 with an OPS of .738, though he hit 13 home runs. He was once again selected for the All-Star game, this time in the South Atlantic League. The BlueClaws went on to win the 2009 South Atlantic League championship.
Toronto Blue Jays
To begin 2010, d'Arnaud was sent from the Phillies to the Toronto Blue Jays organization in a ten player trade. The Phillies received Roy Halladay, along with $6,000,000 from the Blue Jays. Toronto received d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor, who they later flipped to the Oakland Athletics for Brett Wallace. Wallace was then traded to the Houston Astros for center-field prospect Anthony Gose. d'Arnaud played the entire 2010 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays, the Blue Jays' High-A affiliate in the Florida State League. Despite suffering from back problems and playing in a higher league, d'Arnaud put up comparable numbers to his 2009 campaign, hitting .259, an OPS of .726 and 6 home runs in 71 games. For the week of April 19, d'Arnaud was named FSL Player of the Week and was selected to participate in the midsummer Home Run Derby. He was named a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star.
In 2011, d'Arnaud played the entire 2011 season in the Eastern League, with the Blue Jays Double-A affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Over his first three seasons in the minors, d'Arnaud had steadily improved his defense, but 2011 was the year in which he made vast improvements to all aspects of his offensive ability. He finished the season with a .311 batting average and an OBP of .371 in 114 games. He saw another great spike in power, hitting 21 home runs with a slugging percentage of .542 and 33 doubles. On July 13, d'Arnaud was named to the Eastern League's Mid-Season All-Star team. He also made the post-season team on August 25, going to his sixth All-Star game in total. The following day, on August 26, d'Arnaud was named the EL's Most Valuable Player.
On September 16, the Toronto Blue Jays named d'Arnaud as one of the recipients of the R. Howard Webster award, an award given to the best player at each level of the Blue Jays minor league farm system. The next day, d'Arnaud went on to win his second minor league championship ring, as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats defeated the Reading Phillies 3 games to 1 in the semi-finals and then defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 3 games to 1 in the final series of the Eastern League championship.
Baseball America named d'Arnaud as the Best Defensive Catcher in the Eastern League for the 2011 season. They also named him the #2 prospect in the EL, behind highly touted outfield prospect Bryce Harper and in front of teammate Anthony Gose. d'Arnaud was also named the starting catcher for the Double-A level in Baseball America's honorary "classifications" All-Star team.
On September 15, USA Baseball announced that d'Arnaud was selected for its 25-man roster to play in the IBAF's 2011 Baseball World Cup.
On June 21, d'Arnaud was named to appear in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game.
New York Mets
On December 17, 2012, the Blue Jays traded d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra to the New York Mets for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas.
d'Arnaud was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas 51s on March 24. He suffered a non-displaced fracture on his left foot during a game on April 17. d'Arnaud was cleared to begin a rehab assignment on June 3; however, he recovered more slowly than originally expected, having been limited to running in a rehab pool as of June 21, while awaiting clearance for land-based running. On July 24, d'Arnaud played in his first rehab game with the GCL Mets, and went 1–3 at the plate. He returned to the Las Vegas 51s on August 9.
The Mets called up d'Arnaud for the first time on August 17, when John Buck was placed on the paternity list. In his first major league plate appearance, d'Arnaud drew a four-pitch walk from San Diego starter Edinson Vólquez. He finished the game 0–2 with 2 walks. d'Arnaud got his first major league hit on August 20 against Atlanta Braves pitcher Luis Ayala in the 8th inning. He hit his first Major League home run on August 25, a two-run shot off Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello. The home run earned Travis a curtain call from the Mets fans.
Travis finished the season appearing in 31 games batting .202 in 99 at-bats in 112 plate appearances with 20 hits, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 12 walks, 4 runs scored and 21 strikeouts.
On May 13, d'Arnaud suffered the third concussion of his professional career, when he was hit by Alfonso Soriano's backswing. On June 8, d'Arnaud was optioned to Las Vegas due to a .180 batting average. His spot was taken by Taylor Teagarden. In the 15 games after his demotion, he hit .436 with 6 home runs. On June 24, d'Arnaud was called back up to the Mets and resumed his role as starting catcher. In response, Teagarden was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. On the same day, d'Arnaud hit a three-run home run off Scott Kazmir of the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning with two outs taking a 4-1 lead to a 7-1 lead. The Mets won the game 10-1. It was the only hit for d'Arnaud in 4 at-bats as he struck out twice. For the remainder of the season, d'Arnaud batted .272 with 10 home runs.
d'Arnaud finished the season appearing in 108 games batting .242 in 385 at-bats in 421 plate appearances with 93 hits, 13 home runs, 41 RBIs, 32 walks, 48 runs scored and 64 strikeouts.
d'Arnaud broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch on April 19, and was subsequently placed on the 15-day disabled list. His spot on the roster was replaced by fellow catcher Kevin Plawecki. He was reactivated off the disabled list on June 10 when Danny Muno was sent down to the 51s. In a game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta on June 20, d'Arnaud left the game in the sixth inning due to an injured elbow. D'Arnaud, who had a two-run single and a solo homer, was hurt trying to tag A. J. Pierzynski, who was trying to score on a sacrifice fly to left. Michael Cuddyer's throw was up the third-base line, and Pierzynski collided with d'Arnaud, who couldn't hold on to the ball. He was re-placed on the disabled list with a sprained left elbow. Catcher Johnny Monell replaced him on the roster. He was brought back on July 30 with Anthony Recker sent down.
Travis finished the season appearing in 67 games batting .268 in 239 at-bats in 268 plate appearances with 64 hits, 12 home runs, 41 RBIs, 23 walks, 31 runs scored and 49 strikeouts.
In the postseason, he appeared behind the plate in all 14 games. In the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, batting .158 in 19 at-bats in 20 plate appearances with 3 hits, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored with 8 strikeouts. In the Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, batting .267 in 15 at-bats in 16 plate appearances with 4 hits, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored and 5 strikeouts. He batted .143 in 21 at-bats/plate appearances with 3 hits, 1 RBI and 4 strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.
d'Arnaud began the 2016 season as the Mets' starting catcher, but was injured and replaced by Kevin Plawecki, enabling René Rivera to be activated as backup catcher. After a rehab stint with the St. Lucie Mets and Las Vegas 51s, d'Arnaud was reactivated in June and Plawecki was sent down, with Rivera staying as the backup. On July 5, 2016, d'Arnaud switched his uniform number from 7 to 18 to offer a salute to retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, and to give José Reyes the number he had worn his whole MLB carrer.
- 2011 Team USA – Baseball World Cup
- 2011 Baseball America Classification All-Star
- 2011 Baseball America #2 Prospect – Eastern League
- 2011 Baseball America Best Defensive Catcher – Eastern League
- 2011 R. Howard Webster Award
- 2011 Eastern League Champion
- 2011 Eastern League MVP
- 2011 Eastern League All-Star
- 2011 Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star
- 2010 Florida State League All-Star
- 2010 Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star
- 2010 Florida State League Home Run Derby Participant
- 2010 Florida State League Player of the Week (4/19)
- 2009 South Atlantic League Champion
- 2009 South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star
- 2008 New York–Penn League Mid-Season All-Star