I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I wanted to promote a comment from one of our readers that I thought was very interesting and might stir some debate.
My brother-in-law who has been in Port St. Lucie for almost 3 weeks now, has told me some interesting stuff about what he’s seen at Mets camp where he goes almost daily. Last night while talking about second base, he said Ruben Tejada is the only player he has seen in the filed that looks like he can play second base at a major league level defensively. By far the smoothest glove and best range and it’s no contest. He scouts football for the Carolina Panthers and also coaches a high school baseball team, so he has a good eye for stuff like this.
As for Murphy, I thought this was interesting. He said that Murphy has looked clunky out there but mostly on pivots, but that said he looked no more clunky than Brad Emaus. He said they basically look the same and have the same instincts and same range.
We both saw the obvious which is that Murphy has been playing second base for about three months while Emaus has played second base for more than five years.
Our conclusion was that in another three months, Murphy could actually pass Emaus up as the infinitely better defender at second base. So take that for what it’s worth.
I think the Mets should go with Tejada and Murphy at second base and not think twice about letting Emaus and Castillo go.
I really haven’t had the chance to see Emaus or Murphy play second yet, but I already know how smooth Tejada is in the field.
What I’ve read from those who have reported from St. Lucie is that Murphy keeps improving, but is far from a sure thing. But he has Terry Collins rooting hard for him. Collins even went as far as saying that he looks at second base as an “offensive position”. Murphy is batting .273 with a pair of doubles in 11 at-bats this spring.
Emaus has long been considered the favorite by many other sites including FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, but mostly because of his bat and not his glove. That said, as we reported here, his stats were very deceiving because Emaus played in one of the best hitting parks in the minor leagues. His road numbers were awful. Emaus is batting .167 in six at-bats so far.
Tejada was slated for Triple-A even before spring training started according to both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins. But a bulked up Tejada has been stinging the baseball and he may now have put himself back into the picture. He is batting .500 so far this spring with three RBI and only one strikeout in ten at-bats.
This battle keeps getting more interesting by the day. Thanks for the information, Shamsky.