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Mets Can Look to Future After Reyes

By Jed Weisberger ~ March 15th, 2010. Filed under: Mets Minors.

Obviously the hope for Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is his thyroid condition is controlled, injuries stay away and he again becomes the dominant player he is capable of.

Alex Cora can certainly fill in for a few weeks, but the Mets, in a future without Reyes, have three players who someday could be a major-league starter at shortstop.

Rightfully attracting attention at Port St. Lucie is Ruben Tejada, whose overall game has Mets manager Jerry Manuel excited.  Just 20, he does have legitimate chances of becoming a special player.

Behind Tejada in the Mets system are Reese Havens, who will start at Class AA Binghamton next month, and youngster Wilmer Flores, a player I like who has garnered some mixed reviews, who likely will begin at Class A Savannah.

Tejada, native of Panama who played for his country on the 2009 World Baseball Classic, is big-league ready – or close to it – defensively.  At Binghamton last summer, he handled shortstop confidently and impressively.

In fact, with the Mets sustaining more than their share of infield injuries in 2009, Tejada, had he been a member of the 40-man roster, may have made his big-league debut at the age of 19.

Yet, as the youngest Double-A player at Binghamton last summer, he more than held his own offensively, batting .289 (141-for-488) and recorded 24 doubles.  He was a solid performer on a poor team in the challenging Eastern League, earning plaudits from many.

What one also likes about Tejada is how he plays the game. A charismatic sort, he reminds one of Yankees prospect Reegie Corona, who is making his way toward the majors.

Like Corona, Tejada has above-average speed.  Also like Corona, he has not shown much power. He has developed a good hitting approach at the plate, but needs to improve his patience and draw more walks.

Could he fill in for the Mets in 2010?  With more selectivity at the plate, yes.  He proved he could handle Double-A in 2009, and most feel he will do the same at Triple-A Buffalo in 2010.

Havens doesn’t have Tejada’s speed, but he has more power potential. He batted .247 (89-for-360) with 14 homers in 97 games for Class A St. Lucie in the pitching-rich Florida State League. The homer total was even more impressive because he missed seven weeks of the season with quad problems and a bone bruise.

Signed for $1.419 million after being drafted 22nd overall in 2008, Havens will look to fine-tune his game – and stay healthy – at Binghamton.

Flores, listed as the Mets’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America, may find himself more a third baseman or outfielder than shortstop as he matures.

He was another of the players who was rushed into full-season ball at Class A Savannah at 17. He played in the South Atlantic League at 17 – turning 18 in late in the season - as one would expect, looking brilliant one night and pedestrian others.

Flores batted .264 (129-for-488) and would benefit by stepping off the fast track – despite the $750,000 investment the Mets made in him – and play this season at Savannah since he won’t turn 19 until  Aug. 6.

Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.
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5 Responses to Mets Can Look to Future After Reyes

  1. Shamik

    With Reyes having more years injured than healthy, I think its good to have such depth behind him. For once, the contract situation might work out in the Mets’ favor. If he can’t consistently get on the field, I don’t care how “exciting” he is to watch, we need to bring in someone who we know will give us more playing time.

  2. Steve

    I hope all the optimists are looking forward to the days when the #2-5 starters are pitching….For a family that was burned by Bernie Madoff, how could they even think of such a risky and disastrous strategy?

  3. Edgy DC

    This is very premature.

    1) The Mets control Reyes for two more seasons.
    2) Not one of those three players has had a major league plate appearance yet.
    3) Only Tejada has played above A ball.
    4) He (Tejada) had a disastrous year when he was rushed from Rookie ball to high A in 2008.
    5) Havens is few people’s idea of a future shortstop, and is more likely destined to land at second or third.
    6) Flores is NOBODY’S idea of a future shortstop, has minus speed (for a ballplayer, not for a shortstop) and is more likely to land at first or in left.

    Reyes being out is frustrating, but the rush to look past him is self-destructive for a Mets-fan. These players will emerge as they emerge. Maybe that’ll take three seasons even after a guy debuts, and maybe that’ll never come at all. Two things are for sure. The first is that Jose Reyes has given the Mets the four best seasons of any shortstop in their history, which suggests that guys like him are hard to find. The second is that he’s only going to be 27 this year.

    The Mets like any organization, in order to be sustainable, need to prepare themselves for any and all futures, starting with the most likely. Prematurely consigning Reyes — even mentally — is a conterproductive emotional response, rather than a truly strategic one.

  4. Edgy DC

    Shamik : “With Reyes having more years injured than healthy… .”

    This isn’t factually true.

    Steve: “For a family that was burned by Bernie Madoff, how could they even think of such a risky and disastrous strategy?”

    Which strategy is that?

  5. Steve

    “For a family that was burned by Bernie Madoff, how could they even think of such a risky and disastrous strategy?”

    I’ve posted here many times, but I’ll say again. I’ve been the biggest Mets fan for over 35 years but I’ve essentially given up on this ownership who has proven over and over again that they have no vision, cannot run a professional sports franchise, and have no goal in mind to win the world series.

    As for pitching, the usual strategy in the Minaya regime is quantity, not quality. He’s said repeatedly “lets get a bunch of arms out there, quantity is good”. They have never been pro-active in addressing pitching depth or quality, nor have they exhibited any plan to address. They continually load the roster with scraps and #5 starters, and place a lot of hope each year on ifs (“if Maine comes back, and if Perez is brilliant, and if Pelfrey shows his 2007 form etc.). It’s probably not possible to not have no “ifs” but to continually base your whole rotation on “ifs” year after year is the sign of a losing franchise. No team goes deep in the playoffs without a solid # 2 starter, let alone question marks on 3 and 4, yet this team is content to roll the dice and gamble. Every great Mets team has had a solid 1-2 punch (look at the most recent world series team, Hampton and Leiter)so fans you will be luck to get 81 wins this year…

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