I received an email over the weekend from a reader who wanted to know if either Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada were the longterm solution at shortstop for the Mets.
Is Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada the Mets shortstop of the future?
No – Neither Flores or Tejada will be the longterm solution at shortstop.
To begin, nobody believes Flores will remain at shortstop for too much longer. He projects mostly as a corner outfielder these days and his stock has fallen sharply.
Ruben Tejada will hold the fort down at shortstop in 2012 and perhaps 2013 as well, but mostly because the Mets have no money to sign a replacement for Reyes, and also because there are no internal options that are major league ready… Yet.
Gun to my head, my best guess is that Danny Muno could eventually become the heir apparent to Jose Reyes at shortstop. He might not be ready until 2014, but I love his makeup and he has more offensive potential than Ruben Tejada.
Here is what our own Pete Shapiro wrote back in October when he ranked Danny Muno No. 20 in his Mets Top Prospects list:
The 2011 Sterling Award winner at Brooklyn, Muno got off to as fast a start to his professional baseball career as anyone possibly could. After being drafted in the 8th round out of Fresno State this year, Muno signed quickly and was assigned to the Cyclones to be their everyday shortstop.
He was first in the New York Penn League in batting average in 2011, hitting a cool .355, while batting out of the lead-off spot for the Cyclones. The 22 year-old switch-hitter also led the league in: OBP with .466 and OPS with .980, and tied for first with 23 2B’s. He was third in the league in SLG% with .514, walks with 43, and runs scored with 45. He tied for 5th in the league in hits with 78, and was 8th in TB’s with 113.
He played four years of college baseball at Fresno State, and as a freshman in 2008, he was the starting shortstop for the National Champion Fresno State Bulldogs. Muno turned a huge double play in the bottom of the ninth inning in the championship game to bring the University of Georgia down to their final out. Moments later, in an unbelievable upset, Fresno State became the most unlikely national champion in the history of college baseball.
Muno is a “gamer”, and does all the little things it takes to win, bunting, situational hitting, moving runners over, and playing solid defense at 2B and SS. He will more than likely open the season next year as the starting shortstop at Savannah, although a jump all the way to St. Lucie and the Florida State League is not out of the realm of possibility for a player with his advanced skills and experience.
I like Muno a lot and look forward to seeing him take some big steps forward in 2012.
Another thing to consider is who the Mets will draft this June with their first round selection. They could make their top pick a shortstop which could change things dramatically.