Even though catcher Kevin Plawecki struggled offensively last summer after the Mets selected him in the supplemental round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Mets vice president of amateur scouting and player development Paul DePodesta said there were encouraging signs.
Plawecki hit .250 with a .384 slugging percentage in 61 games at short-season Class A Brooklyn. But even after playing a full college season at Purdue, Plawecki maintained his disciplined approach at the plate and showed off his power, hitting seven home runs.
"Going into this year, [we were] optimistic about what we might get from him," DePodesta said. "Wouldn't have predicted he'd do what he's done. But there was reason for optimism."
Plawecki, the Mets' No. 17-ranked prospect, has proved that optimism was warranted. He has excelled so far at Class A Savannah, hitting .356 with five home runs and a .597 slugging percentage in 41 games. He leads the South Atlantic League in batting average and on-base percentage.
DePodesta said Plawecki has also earned praise for his defense this season.
"He's a natural leader behind the plate," DePodesta said. "He's getting high marks for calling very good games, which you don't hear a lot of in A ball -- even from college guys."
Plawecki has started the year so well that DePodesta said Plawecki has proven he's ready for the next challenge.
"We think he's ready to move both offensively and defensively," DePodesta said. "When the opportunity presents itself, we will move."
DePodesta said it is easy to make room for an outfielder or a pitcher when they're ready for a promotion. For other positions, like a catcher or shortstop, it isn't as easy to create playing time at the next level.
"If you have someone at a level in front of them that deserves to be playing, it's difficult to move him up there," DePodesta said. "It ends up being more about what opportunities are available and them being ready for challenge."
Class A Advanced St. Lucie's catcher is Cam Maron. He hit .300 in Savannah last year and won Player of the Year honors for Rookie level Kingsport in 2011.
Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.