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Looking at the New Mets Shortstop

By Mike Silva ~ December 6th, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets.

Unless something drastic happens, Ruben Tejada will be the opening day shortstop now that Jose Reyes is in Miami. It would be unfair to expect Tejada to replace Reyes. We may never again see the combination of speed, power, and average that Reyes demonstrated in his best seasons. With that said, Tejada is no slouch. He has consistently been pushed outside his comfort zone in the organization. This has hurt him statistically, but there is reason to believe it’s made him a better player. I think Mets fans will be pleasantly surprised at how solid a shortstop Tejada could turn out to be.

In 2008, at the young age of 18, the Mets put Tejada in High-A St. Lucie. He struggled hitting only .229. His reward was a promotion to Double-A in 2009. It’s there he had a breakout season hitting .289 with 5 HRs, 19 steals, and a .732 OPS at shortstop. His OBP was a solid .351. Remember, he was not yet 20-years old.

A year later he was the Opening Day shortstop in New York when Reyes was recovering from the thyroid condition. He had his moments, but by and large Tejada looked overmatched in the big leagues. He was sent down to Triple-A where he hit .280 the rest of the season. The past year he split time between New York and Buffalo; subbing in at short during the various Reyes DL stints. Take a look at Tejada vs. Reyes in the second half of last season:

Ruben Tejada

2nd Half 48 46 175 18 53 11 1 0 18 4 14 20 .303 .368 .377 .745
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2011.

Jose Reyes

2nd Half 46 44 187 36 57 9 1 4 12 9 16 15 .305 .356 .428 .784
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2011.

Again, this is a kid that hasn’t reached his 22nd birthday yet. He continues to show improvement, and held his own in comparison to Reyes on both sides of the ball as the season wore on. A compromised Reyes, but still productive for the position.

Defensively, Tejada appears to be a solid fielder. He isn’t flashy like Reyes, but for the most part he makes the necessary plays. Mark Simon of ESPN paints a rosier picture by discussing how some advanced fielding metrics view Tejada.

Simon states that an “a fielder gets credit for an Out of Zone play when he gets an out on a ball fielded in a spot in which fewer than 50 percent of players at his position recorded an out within that 365-day period.” In 353 innings at shortstop, Tejada was credited with 24 Out of Zone plays.

There is also a metric called  Good Fielding Plays. These are basically “web gems” we see on the nightly highlight packages. Tejada has 30 Good Fielding Play last season, which put him on pace to lead the league.

Is Tejada a full-time player? It might be too soon to tell. He very well could profile as a backup, but why not give him a shot in 2012 with a veteran backup to mentor and provide a safety net (see Jack Wilson).


I did an hour of Jose Reyes and Mets talk yesterday with Howard Megdal of the Journal News, and author of the soon to be released book “Wilpon’s Folly.” Evan Roberts of WFAN joined the conversation as well. You can download the replay here.


Have a Jose Reyes jersey and don’t know what to do with it? Check out this promotion at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant:

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) offers New York Mets fans the opportunity to bid adios to former shortstop Jose Reyes, who has signed with the Miami Marlins.   The popular baseball bar will allow customers to exchange their Mets #7 Reyes jerseys for a free beer (to drown their sorrows), champagne (to celebrate his departure) or free appetizer (for fans who do not drink).

 “New York baseball is feeling a swirl of emotions as Jose Reyes heads south this winter,  We’re giving Mets fans a chance to drown their sorrows — or celebrate — and bid adios to Jose, one of the best and most popular Mets players ever,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features 2,500 autographed balls, bats and other baseball memorabilia.  “By doing this, we can have a little fun and donate to clothing drives for people who are less fortunate.”

Want to know where to find Mike Silva now? He Host's the "Weekend Watchdog” on Long Island’s ESPN affiliate Champions Radio (96.9/107.1FM Suffolk) go to http://weekendwatchdog.com to listen and interact with Mike at mikesilvamedia.com
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