Keith Law does an interesting ranking at ESPN insider today ranking rookies only by their potential 2013 impact. Obviously, playing time and opportunity play crucial factors in rankings like these. Law has Travis d’Arnaud ranked #16 among this group. d’Arnaud is nearly guaranteed a month of playing in AAA for a month to manage his service time to delay free agency by a year, and prove he’s healthy.
D’Arnaud’s trouble staying healthy might be more of an obstacle than John Buck, the Mets’ expected starter behind the plate, although I also could see the Mets letting d’Arnaud get 200 to 250 plate appearances in Triple-A to work on his approach and make up for the time he missed last year.
By keeping d’Arnaud in Las Vegas through the middle of May, the Mets would be giving him something like 180 plate appearances in AAA, so 200-250 is hardly a bold prediction – although it seems awfully close to accurate.
Law’s comment implies that he left Wheeler off the list due to playing time:
As for probable Triple-A teammate Zack Wheeler, he’s probably waiting on multiple injuries or rotation failures before he gets a legitimate opportunity.
Which makes sense, because pitchers never get hurt, and the Mets aren’t counting on two guys in the rotation (Santana and Gee) who ended last year on the disabled list.