You have to love the way middle infielder Ruben Tejada has sprung out of nowhere to become one of the team’s hottest hitters in August batting .364 with a .440 OBP and .500 SLG in 66 at-bats. On the year, Tejada has raised his batting average to .282, ahead of Justin Turner who is batting .257. Turner has cooled off considerably since getting off to a hot start after his promotion.
Both Turner and Tejada are viewed as two chief candidates for the second base job next Spring. It’s a battle that we saw waged prior to this season, but was never actually resolved. We’ll be doing it all over again in March – hopefully with better results.
Daniel Murphy, who is out for the season with a leg injury, will also be in the mix for the second base competition, and while we all know he can hit, it’s his fielding that could keep him from ultimately locking onto the position. His positioning on a play at second base, led to the collision that wiped out the rest of his season for the second straight year.
That brings us to a dark horse candidate – second base prospect Reese Havens. After a few injury plagued seasons, Havens is finally stringing together a solid season for Double-A Binghamton where he is hitting .292 with six homers, 25 RBI, and a .373 on-base percentage in 192 at-bats.
The former 2008 first rounder, has always been long on potential, and has shown flashes of that potential during those few occasions that he’s been healthy enough to take the field.
At the start of this season, Project Prospect ranked Havens as the Mets top prospect, ahead of Wilmer Flores and Matt Harvey. The folks at PP take a different approach to ranking prospects as they go by which players have the highest ceilings. You may remember that our own head of player development, Paul DePodesta, drafted Brandon Nimmo based on his ceiling more than any particular body of work. havens projects to be a middle of the order type hitter and many scouts have compared him to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.
So keep an eye on Havens next Spring, as he may give Turner, Tejada and Murphy a real run for their money. Havens will be on his way to the Arizona Fall League once his season at Binghamton is over, and depending on how he produces against some of the games best prospects, it could be his ticket to a spring training invite and a leg up on the second base competition for the 2012 season.
By the way, there was some great information on Havens today on ESPN New York by Adam Rubin. You may want to check it out.