Despite their extra-innings tie, it was great to see some New York Mets baseball today.
The Mets came from behind to tie the Atlanta Braves, 5-5, in their opening spring training game at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie.
While the scores really mean nothing in spring training, it’s the performance of players on the cusp that really makes a difference.
Some of today’s positives include Fernando Martinez’s two-run homer in the fifth, Chin-Lung Hu’s two-strike hitting in the ninth and Willie Harris’ opposite field two-run homer in the tenth.
However, one of the things that might get overlooked in this game was the performance of 23-year old second baseman Jordany Valdespin.
Valdespin ripped an RBI double in the ninth inning to tie the game. He also showed great range on a few plays at second base.
With all the hype over who will play second base this season, Valdespin’s name has taken a back seat. He likely isn’t in the competition for this season, but he could be one of the possible long-term solutions.
Then again, so could Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy, Reese Havens or a player currently outside the organization.
Valdespin hit .289 with six home runs and 13 stolen bases in 65 games for the High Single-A St. Lucie Mets.
He is said to have a fiery personality and has clashed with his managers on several occasions.
He will need to put together a full season of productive baseball and controlling his attitude to get any consideration for a full-time gig at some point in the future.
Just based on the limited sample from today, Valdespin has all the tools to be an all-around second baseman: good speed, good range, good arm, good swing and even a little pop.
It’s too early to deem him the future at second base, but a good year in the minors, coupled with inconsistent play from whoever plays second base this year, may propel Valdespin into the conversation.
At the very least, a good year from Valdespin may open another team’s eyes to his talent. The Mets could then use him as a trade chip, assuming they are content with who is playing second base.
Valdespin will be someone the organization will keep a close eye in the minors this season. He should start at Double-A, with Justin Turner likely to get the majority of the playing time at Buffalo.
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