As everyone knows, the second base job is wide open for the Mets in 2011, especially now that Luis Castillo has been released. The competition has seemingly been narrowed down to Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Luis Hernandez. But arguably the hottest hitter on the Mets this spring has been left out of the discussion.
Scott Hairston has been one of the hottest hitters in the game this spring, providing him basically a guaranteed spot on the roster come Opening Day. The question is in what capacity.
Hairston has been mostly an outfielder in his career, but he does have experience at second base. In fact, he was solely a second baseman in his rookie season. He spent most of his time in the minor leagues as a second baseman playing a total of 262 there. Yes, he does not have great defensive ability, but neither do any of the other candidates. Comparing them, Murphy and Hernandez have little experience at second, and Emaus earns his money from what he does with a bat, not with the glove.
This spring, in 12 games, Hairston is batting .397/.487/.697. Hernandez and Murphy have held their own with .294/.368/.298 and .308/.341/.426 respectively, while Rule 5 draft pick Brad Emaus has batted an underwhelming .231/.310/.269. Hairston has clearly been the best candidate as far as hitting this spring. He needs to be taken into consideration, especially given the fact that Luis Hernandez might be injured.
The only reasons I can personally think of why Hairston would not be in on the second base contest is that it has been nearly 7 seasons since he was a full time second baseman. The other reason is that since Beltran’s health is in question, they might want Hairston to start in the outfield. But given his incredible performance this spring, and the lack of talent at second base, Hairston should at least be given a shot to show he can play second base for the Mets this season.