Over the course of the last two weeks, yours truly has been absent from my weekly posting spot. My Mets Merized hiatus was spent scurrying the college baseball scene, taking in first hand the Super Regionals in Cary, North Carolina, and the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The experience was spent traveling with the North Carolina Tar Heel baseball team. More specifically though, my cousin, first team All-American outfielder Tim Fedroff, who was drafted by Cleveland in the seventh round of the amateur draft three weeks ago.
While away from the busy city hustle and bustle, my prime focus was still laid on the Mets beat. I was awoken in the wee hours one morning in my Omaha hotel room via text message. It was at the suddenly eerie moment I learned that Willie Randolph had been relieved of his duties as manager of the Mets. Major League Baseball fans that I spoke to in Omaha thought the Mets were one of the bigger laughing stocks they had seen in sometime. I found that quite comical considering a majority of them had their allegiances pledged to the Kansas City Royals.
When I was invited to take this very special globe trotting adventure, intentions of attaining first hand thoughts and opinions on the Mets two first round draft choices, Arizona State first Baseman Ike Davis, and South Carolina shortstop, Reese Havens were high on my priority list. Consensus feedback from players revealed to me that they felt Havens had more of an upside for the organization. Wishing to remain anonymous if posted, one UNC player told me, “Davis is a one way, hit or miss power hitter, but I’ve seen Havens up close and the kid is a grinder, he’s everything you want in a ball player, he would fit well in a teams two hole, and stick him some place in the middle infield”
Throughout my various interviews I’ve compiled my own personal opinions of what Reese Havens’ makeup is compiled of. He brings a patient approach to the top of the order; he is difficult to strike out. He has some pop, but nothing to write home to mother about. His baseball knowledge and perception are his biggest assets, while range and speed are his glaring weaknesses.
Keen opinions of Davis were far more difficult to locate because the team rarely if ever had seen him. Fortunately, Holiday Inn Express comes equipped with ESPN, and I was able to see a fair amount of his at bats on television during his appearance in the Super Regional tournament. Davis is solidly built, and has a smooth stroke from the left side, though he can be exposed high in the zone. His swing seems to alter to an upper cut style at times, making him vulnerable to the strike out.
Though it may take time to fully develop, both Havens and Davis got better every year they played for their college programs. It’s a true testament to how hard the two work to make themselves better ball players, the kind of players the Mets need to continue to bring aboard. Both players are veterans and will move through the system quickly, at least if they continue to develop on the pace that they have set for themselves. Teamed together with phenom Fernando Martinez, Havens and Davis are the shining jewels of the Mets future, how shiny? Let’s just hope it’s shinier than Jerry Manuel’s blade.