From Left Field: Does Brad Emaus Deserve The Preseason Hype?
I love when MLB analysts, bloggers and fans release their picks for a team’s projected lineup heading into the season.
In many cases, educated baseball fans arrive somewhere in the “ballpark” (no pun intended) of what the Opening Day lineup will look like.
Since Terry Collins has given everyone a preview of at least two-thirds of the order, there really is no guessing game associated with what the lineup will be this year.
As of now, the batting order should resemble the following:
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Angel Pagan, RF/CF
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, CF/RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Ike Davis, 1B
From here, it looks like Josh Thole will do the bulk of the catching and will assume one of the final two spots in the order.
That, of course, leaves second base.
As I have begun reading other fans lineup predictions, many have already slated Brad Emaus into the starting second baseman’s role.
Granted, many have not, but still I feel I should be asking why so many fans have a pre-spring training love fest for Emaus.
I’ll start with the positives.
Emaus has put up solid numbers the last few seasons in Toronto’s minor league system. Last year, he hit .290 with 15 HR, 75 RBI, 32 2B and even 13 SB in 125 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Ike Davis and Josh Thole are left-handed, so the right-handed hitting Emaus could split up the lefties and provide a little punch at the bottom of the order. As shown in this clip, Emaus has a fluid stroke with a Fred McGriff-like over the top finish.
Emaus also showed a great eye at the plate, drawing a walk in almost 15 percent of his at-bats.
Seems like a good fit, right?
Well, before we all start jumping on the Brad Emaus bandwagon like some fans have, let’s consider a few things.
Emaus plays adequate defense, at least according to scouting reports from the minors. Some reports claim his defense isn’t good enough to play second base and his offense is good enough to play third base.
Davis has shown some range at first base, so I’m not too worried about the second baseman’s defense, except of course in turning the double-play.
One main question pops into my mind when thinking about Emaus: Why would the Blue Jays leave this guy unprotected in the Rule-5 Draft?
Yes, I know, Aaron Hill is distinguishing himself as a premier second baseman in this league, but Emaus is only 24 and could have provided some insurance.
Other reports have claimed that Emaus sometimes does not give 100 percent on the field. This will be a year where every single Met on the 25-man roster will need to give 100 percent for the team to compete.
Finally, some fans have been writing off Daniel Murphy already as the starting second baseman. He may still be in the process of learning a new position, but there’s one thing certain about Murphy: No one ever questions his work ethic.
There were stories that he used to hit so much before games that he sometimes wore himself out. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it shows the determination this guy has in getting better.
In the end, I believe both players will make roster and split time at second base. I’m not sold on a platoon just yet, but I could see each player getting ample time at the position.
I was concerned that so many fans were already penciling Emaus into the batting order before even seeing him take a swing in spring training.
I like these fans’ enthusiasm, but as has been the plan all along, several players will get the chance to duke it out at spring training.
Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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