Don’t look now because I’m afraid we might jinx it, but what the hell, here comes Ruben Tejada.
Yes that Ruben Tejada.
The same kid who had been much maligned and dragged through the mud by even his own manager and general manager for most of 2013. The same kid who has been painted as a fat, lazy, good-for-nothing who was washed up at the tender age of 23.
Well, the tables have turned and Tejada is currently the hottest player on the team and he is certainly one of the reasons for this recent, mini Mets resurgence.
In two games against the Phillies, Tejada is 5-for-10 with two runs, two walks and three RBIs. He also clubbed his first home run in over two years, which proved to be the difference maker in Saturday’s 5-4 win for the Mets. And he hasn’t even faced Cole Hamels yet, against whom he’s batted 9-for-28 in his career.
Over his last ten games, Tejada has batted .321 and raised his season average to .227 – a higher mark than Travis d’Arnaud (.195), Curtis Granderson (.198) and Chris Young (.200) who each came into this season with mile-high expectations.
Tejada’s .349 on-base percentage is higher than the two usual Mets leadoff hitters Juan Lagares (.335) and Eric Young Jr. (.315). Heck it’s even higher than David Wright (.339) and is bested only by Daniel Murphy who leads the team with a .360 OBP.
Defensively, Tejada has been outstanding this season showing a much-improved range and committing just three errors all year – the second fewest among all NL shortstops. His .983 fielding percentage ranks sixth best in the majors.
Because it feels like he’s been around forever, you forget that at 24 he’s a year younger than d’Arnaud and Matt Harvey.
Time for some of us to eat a big plate of crow – beginning with me.
While it’s unlikely that he’ll continue to produce at this current pace, one has to admit he’s certainly performing much better than anyone of us ever gave him credit for.