Player Name: Reese Havens
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 195 lb.
Position: Second Base
MMO Top Prospect Ranking: NR
There’s not much that I can tell you about Reese Havens that you probably don’t already know. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of the University of South Carolina. Many experts thought he would go on to have the best career of any Mets player drafted in 2008. We are still waiting for him to live up to those expectations.
Everyone knows Havens’ story: tons of talent, can’t stay healthy. Even in a NY Times interview last March, Havens’ father was shocked that the injury bug has bitten Reese during his professional career, because he had never been affected by injuries in the previous years. Brent Havens, Reese’s father, said this about his son’s injuries:
It has been extremely uncanny, the injuries he’s had, because he was never hurt as a youngster. His high school and college careers were basically injury-free. And if he did have an injury, he always healed quickly.
Even Havens’ father can’t seem to figure out what is going on with the string of injuries Havens has suffered the past few years. Hopefully that is all put behind him now, and he can get his career back on track.
There are some Mets fans out there that seem about ready to give up on Reese Havens. I’ve seen some people go as far as saying that he isn’t a prospect anymore. My response is: thank goodness these people don’t work in the Mets organization. I would really hate to see the Mets give up on this kid and then have him turn out to be a superstar with some other team. When the Mets added him to the 40-man roster this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, it showed the baseball world that the Mets still believed in his talent.
And what’s not to believe in? So what the guy had a couple of nagging injuries. That doesn’t mean he can’t play. Look at this quote from Terry Collins, regarding Havens, from that same NY Times article noted earlier:
“He’s one of those guys where you just know the ceiling. If we can get him in the lineup, he’s going to play in the big leagues.”
Terry Collins doesn’t seem worried that Havens won’t be a big leaguer, so why should the fan base?
Havens is a gamer. He oozes baseball talent. He has a solid glove, hits for average and has a ton of power for a second baseman. He also gets on base, and has great patience. He has all the attributes you want in a player. In 2012, Reese may have still been recovering from a back ailment. He may have only hit .215 last season, but his OBP was .340 because he had 58 walks. That’s promising.
What is also promising is his 2011 season where he displayed mastery at the Double-A level hitting for a .289 average, and a .372 OBP across 58 games. Don’t look into 2012 too much, because when it comes to back injuries, it tends to take a season to really feel comfortable again swinging the bat.
This is where I’m going to start making bold statements. But don’t worry, I stand by all of them and believe them to be true. If Terry Collins announced tomorrow that there would be an open competition for the Mets starting second base job this spring, there is no doubt in my mind that Havens would beat out Daniel Murphy on his sheer talent alone. The Mets are dying to get an excuse to get this guy to the big leagues. There’s been a lot of talk of Wilmer Flores converting to second base of late, but it’s surely a backup plan for if Havens never nips this injury bug. Havens is the real deal. He just has to get on the field and prove it.
Age is just a number. Don’t look at his age as being a negative. The guy can play ball, and it shouldn’t matter how old he is if he can help the Mets win. Havens is the future second baseman of the Mets. Murphy is just a stop-gap, and the minute Havens is ready (which won’t be long), he will be showing everyone why he was a first-round selection in 2008. You might want to pre-order to Reese Havens jerseys now, because it’s going to be a hot seller in the very near future.
Havens will get his career back on track in 2013, because guys with his kind of baseball ability just don’t go away. He is my sleeper prospect for 2013. He has top ten prospect ability, and will start the season with Triple-A, but don’t be surprised if he gets called up as early as May (if he performs up to his potential in spring training). He may not have many minor league at-bats under his belt, but mark my words, he’s ready…if he can stay on the field.
For more Mets minor league and prospect coverage, you can follow me on Twitter @FirstPitchMitch.