EL notes: Mets' Plawecki applying lessons

Highly touted backstop brings Spring Training advice into Double-A

A first-round pick in 2012, Kevin Plawecki is hitting .286 with one error over his first nine games with Binghamton. (Gordon Donovan)

By Craig Forde / Special to MiLB.com | April 22, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Adjusting to life at the next level can be tough, but the right guidance can certainly make the transition a little easier.

Such is the case for New York Mets No. 7 prospect Kevin Plawecki, whose time in big league camp during Spring Training has provided a solid foundation of knowledge that is proving invaluable for the 23-year-old catcher.

"Spring Training was great," Plawecki said. "First big league camp, being in the clubhouse with David Wright, [Curtis] Granderson, all those guys -- it was really cool. Not only for the experience, but to get to know those guys."

Being around the Mets' top big league talent helped the Purdue product gain a big league mentality, and being around the influx of talented catchers in the organization helped him learn a thing or two about the game that he will use to guide him through his first season at the Double-A level with Binghamton.

"I learned a lot from the catching staff, Travis [d'Arnaud], [Anthony] Recker, [Taylor] Teagarden and [Juan] Centeno," said Plawecki. "All those guys have been in the Major Leagues, so it was fun to work side-by-side with them and learn as much as I could.

"I tried to pick as many brains as I could, and one thing I took out of it, in talking to Travis, was to keep everything simple. Just slow it down as much possible and take it one game at a time."

Plawecki, the Mets' highest-rated backstop prospect, also picked up notes from catching the likes of Noah Syndergaard and Dillon Gee, among others, and has a .990 fielding percentage, with only one error against him, through nine Double-A games to show for his education.

The former Big Ten Player of the Year is also looking to show that he can step from behind the plate and into the batter's box with equal success.

Aware of the level of pitching talent that he will be up against in the Eastern League this season, Plawecki sees it as the perfect opportunity to prove that he's capable of hitting against the best.

"You want to face the best completion you can," said Plawecki. "That's the only way we're going to get better as hitters."

Having collected hits in six of his nine games with the B-Mets, including four multi-hit games, Plawecki recently squared off against Blue Jays top prospect Aaron Sanchez, picking up two singles and striking out once.

"He's a great pitcher," said Plawecki. "He's got great stuff and makes it really difficult as a hitter. It's kind of hard to have a game plan against a guy like that.

"But at the same time it's a challenge you accept and it's a challenge you want to attack. There's a lot of prospects in this league with good arms. It's been a good experience so far, and as long as I keep getting some hits, I'm all set."

Now in his third pro season, and armed with the wealth of knowledge gained in the spring, Plawecki is accepting any challenge thrown his way.

In brief

Odds on favorite: Portland second baseman Mookie Betts has had a sensational start to 2014, hitting safely in 12 of 13 games for a league-best .453 batting average. More eye-popping are his numbers versus left-handed pitchers, where the No. 6 Red Sox prospect runs a split of .611/.682/.944 in 22 plate appearances.

Can't hit what you can't see: Reading reliever Ken Giles has been near flawless in his six appearances for the Fightin Phils. The righty, who hits 100 mph with his fastball, leads the league with five saves in five chances, has 16 strikeouts over seven innings and has allowed one unearned run, one hit and three walks. 

Curved bats: With 97 total hits, Altoona is the only team with fewer than 100 on the season, leading to a league-low .221 batting average. Curve batters have collectively struck out 125 times, the most of any team in the circuit, and they are averaging 6.9 hits and 3.2 runs per game.

Biddle back to normal: After getting roughed up in his first two starts of the season, Phillies No.2 prospect Jesse Biddle has settled in nicely over his last two outings. In both starts versus Harrisburg, the 6-foot-5 lefty struck out 17 and allowed just six hits, three walks and one earned run in 11 innings. Also of note, Biddle, who leads the league with 28 K's, has faced 17 left-handed batters this season and has not allowed a hit.

Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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