Alex In CT asks:
With no real power corner outfielders to speak of in the Mets minors, would it make sense to shift Aderlin Rodriguez to left or right field? As it stands now he’s blocked by David Wright and Ike Davis at the corner infield spots. We know he has the bat, but does Rodriguez have the arm to play in the outfield?
Sean Kenny replies:
Before I start this response, I will say that everything regarding fielding and Aderlin is based on scouting reports as I have never seen him in person nor playing on TV. Despite having an arm that has been rated as a 60 on the 20-80 scale, his footwork/fielding as well as his conditioning have been called into question. Defense will never be his calling card, and a positional shift would be geared at getting him into the lineup for his bat and not much else. (See Lucas Duda)
Despite his awesome power, which is by far the most promising in the Mets system, his overall hitting approach is based on guess-hitting. Aderlin has improved his patience at the plate, but hitting .263 isn’t too enticing and doesn’t show much of an advanced approach. On the plus side, of Ad-Rod’s 124 hits, 51 were of the extra-base variety.
Could Aderlin develop into someone who can get to the balls hit at or near him? Quite possibly. Would it ever look pretty and make you mistake him for a gold-glove candidate? Probably not. Aderlin fits into the same mold as Flores in the sense that his bat (or the power in it) will get him to the majors.
In a vacuum, I try Ad.Rod at the outfield, but only for the sake of eliminating it as a valid option. Aderlin looks like a first baseman, his hitting profile fits like a first baseman, and he would be able to hide some of his negative defensive value at first base.
So, in closing. Should they move him permanently? No. Would it hurt to play him a few times in left field just to see if its an option? Probably not. Best-case scenario has Aderlin spending most of the season with the B-Mets with a late season promotion to Las Vegas, and a 2014 season spent mostly in Vegas with a visit to Flushing in the summer of 2014.
On the note of Mets power hitters in the minors, that assessment is correct. Cory Vaughn is the closest to the majors, but he repeated Hi-A ball at 23 years old. On an aggressive promotion path, Vaughn could be a New York Mets outfielder by June/July 2014, if at all. On the slow path? Opening Day 2015. The system is barren of proven power-hitters.