From Left Field: Some Early Positives This Spring
Spring Training is only about two weeks old, but already some players are starting to leave an impact on the new manager, Terry Collins.
Regardless of a 2-3-1 record, the team seems to be coming together nicely, especially since the main focus of this offseason dealt with off-the-field issues.
Stats really don’t mean too much in spring. Rather, a player’s quality of at-bats and defensive presence get noticed more.
A few of the young players have impressed Collins so far.
Nick Evans, who is fighting for a bench position, is making a strong case to make the team. Evans is out of options, so he would have to go through waivers to be sent to Buffalo. Another team would snatch him up in an instant.
He’s been hitting the ball hard and will look build on his strong performance from early this spring.
Another young stud of the spring has been Ruben Tejada. We know Tejada is great with the glove. However, it’s been his bat that has been holding him back.
Not only is Tejeda hitting well this spring (4-for-8), but his hits are clutch. On a few occasions, he’s driven in runs with two outs and runners in scoring position. He’s not going be be a power threat, but he could be a solid contact hitter.
I do like the plan the Mets have set forth with Tejada. Due to the uncertainty surrounding Jose Reyes, they will need a back-up plan, whether it be this year or next year.
However, if the second base experiment isn’t working out, I wouldn’t mind Tejada getting the call. He looked good in his limited time at second last year, but I agree with Collins in that he should be playing everyday in the minors to begin with.
I say this with my fingers crossed, but Fernando Martinez is looking like the prospect that he’s been hyped up to be for his entire career.
Martinez is hitting the cover off the ball early this spring. He hit that clutch two-run homer in the first game and laced a double a few games later.
Unlike Evans, Martinez can be sent back to the minors no problem. He’ll start at AAA where the Mets hope he can play a full season of productive and, just as important, healthy baseball.
Martinez still factors into the future plans of this club, and he may even be with the team sooner rather than later.
Daniel Murphy has been playing excellent defense, albeit at third base rather than second base. Watch out David Wright, Murph is coming for you! I would like to see more of Murph at second though.
That leads me to Carlos Beltran. We all get on Beltran for always being injured or being unproductive or sometimes shying away from the media, but this guy has always been a class act.
His move to right field has highlighted the first few weeks of spring. Now we just need to see him out there in action.
The Mets will arguably have one of the best defensive (and hopefully offensive) outfields in the majors, assuming everyone stays healthy.
While these have been some of the early positives, Met fans hope that this list continues to grow over the next month. Opening day is officially 30 days away.
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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