Every so often there’s a player that everybody loves to hate. In the past it was players like Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and even Mike Pelfrey to some extent towards the end of his Mets tenure. This year it’s Jordany Valdespin. Whether it’s because of his attitude rubbing people the wrong way or his statistics, he is probably the most disliked player on the team. While there are definitely valid criticisms of Valdespin, I believe he deserves another opportunity to succeed.
First off, there seems to be this notion floating around that Valdespin is somehow a “non prospect”. I don’t know why this belief is suddenly so popular because Valdespin’s minor league statistics and natural physical ability prove otherwise. Physically, Valdespin has a great combination of power and speed. He’s strong, he has a quick bat, and he also possesses excellent speed. In his most recent full minor league season, Valdespin was able to turn his potential into results. In AA and AAA as a 23-year-old, Valdespin hit .294/.333/.468 with 17 home runs, 60 RBI and 37 SBs in 134 games during the 2011 season.
Everyone reading this knows about Valdespin’s struggles in the majors this season, but there are reasons why you shouldn’t write him off because of them. While nothing excuses a sub .200 average, everyone has to remember that he’s still young and he never really got a fair shot to succeed in the majors. His playing time has been sporadic, and many of his ABs occurred when he was coming off the bench cold.
Let’s take a look at the amount of starts Valdespin has in his young career. In 2012, Valdespin started 34 games. By my count, the most games he started in a row was only three. In 2013, Valdespin started 25 games. He only had one stretch in June where he started regularly, but it was only for nine starts.
So, is a poor 59 starts enough to dismiss young player? I don’t think so. If we wrote off all young players who performed poorly in such a small amount of time, many of the games top players would also have been written off. And not only has he not started many games, but his playing time has never been consistent. The reason why this is significant is because it’s tough to get in a rhythm when you are sitting on the bench for long periods of time especially for a young and still developing player like Valdespin.
I’m not trying to say that Valdespin is some kind of can’t-miss prospect, or that it’s a guarantee that he will succeed. However, his ability makes him worthy of getting another opportunity. Valdespin deserves a second chance, and I hope the Mets are willing to give to him.