A mix of disappointment and excitement inundated Mets’ fans on Monday as the Mets officially traded away 2012 NL Cy Young award winner RA Dickey for a couple of top prospects including catcher Travis d’Arnaud. While prospects are typically a gamble, a look back at catchers who made Baseball America’s top 20 prospects should give the Mets reason to be optimistic. Between 1993 and 2012, thirteen catchers were considered amongst the top 20 prospects in Major League Baseball. Of the thirteen, six have gone on to crack All-Star lineups with two players going so far as to pick up an MVP trophy.
Here’s how a few of the former prospects have fared in the Big Leagues:
The 20th top prospect in 1993 and the 17th best in 1994, Javy Lopez made three All-Star appearances and broke the MLB record for his position with 43 home runs in 2003. Lopez retired in 2006 after a successful career that included 260 home runs.
A top-10 prospect in 1996, Ben Davis was a starter for just one season in the Major Leagues and never hit as high as .270. He retired with a .237 average in 2004, never meeting the scout’s lofty expectations.
The best catcher in baseball for much of the past decade, Joe Mauer was ranked amongst the top 10 prospects in baseball for four straight years from 2002 to 2005. He has made four All-Star games, picked up three batting titles, and is a legitimate franchise player. The 2009 MVP has also won three Gold Glove awards.
The 2012 MVP winner has rewarded the Giants faith in him when they took him 5th overall in the 2008 draft. Despite missing time after a gruesome knee injury in 2011, Posey has become the consistent cornerstone of the Giants offense. In three full seasons Posey has posted a .314 BAVG, .380 OBP, and .503 SLG, establishing himself as one of the top overall players in the game today.
While being ranked in the top 20 prospects of Baseball America doesn’t guarantee success, recent history shows that the odds are in his favor. The Mets haven’t had a offensive stalwart behind the plate since Mike Piazza, but it shouldn’t take d’Arnaud becoming the next Piazza to meet expectations in New York.