MMO Top 20 Mets Prospects – #10 Reese Havens, 2B


Welcome back for the 11th installment of the 2012 MMO Mets Top 20 Prospect list. Today we bring you #10, featuring second baseman Reese Havens. The only reason Havens isn’t considerably higher on this list is his significant injury history. If he can stay on the field next year, there is every reason to believe he will soon force the Mets to hand over the second base job at Citi to him.

When Tom Glavine imploded on the final day of the Mets 2007 regular season thereby putting the finishing touches on one of the worst collapses in major league baseball history, the Amazins’ faithful were ready to run him out of town on a rail, or at the very least pay for his cab ride to the airport. A little more than a month later, Glavine signed a one year deal to go back to Atlanta. Once a Brave, always a Brave. The good news is that Glavine was a type-A free agent and the Braves had to sacrifice their 1st round draft pick in 2008 to the Mets. Suckers! That pick translated to the 22nd pick of the first round, four picks after the Mets had taken Ike Davis at #18. When the 22nd pick came around, the Mets spent it on a lefty hitting 21-year-old college shortstop with a real sweet swing named Reese Havens from the University of South Carolina.

Four years later, Havens still has that sweet swing, but now at age 25 he finds himself somewhat behind the 8 ball. He has garnered only 792 professional AB’s under his belt over four seasons and he should have twice that many by now and be on the verge of making the Mets this spring. Instead he heads to AAA Buffalo for 2012, having never played above AA ball. Injuries find Havens the way fleas find a dog. He has not had a single healthy year out of the last four since joining the Mets organization. He’s had a sore elbow, back spasms, oblique strains, and even had to have one of his ribs shortened through a surgical procedure performed after the 2010 season.

The recovery from that surgery took all last winter, and Havens was unable to start the 2011 season on time as a result. After extended spring training, Havens joined the Binghamton Mets at the beginning of June. He was healthy, but not in baseball shape, and played rather sparingly appearing in only 18 games in June hitting .257, and 9 games in July, when he hit .273. He made an impressive push in August when he played in 23 games, and over 78 AB’s hit .333, with 19 runs, 6 2B’s, 4 HR’s, 15 RBI’s and had an OPS of .988. At season’s end, he was originally named to head to Arizona to play in the fall league. But that plan was scrapped and it was decided Havens should go home and spend the winter working on his core and his conditioning. The skill set is already there, the important thing moving forward is for him to be healthy and strong and for him to stay on the field all season next year.

What is all the excitement about? It can be described in one word. Power. Havens’ sweet lefty swing generates plenty of natural power and lots of home runs and doubles will be the result someday. Not only that, Havens is a disciplined hitter with a strong sense of the strike zone. He generally has a fairly healthy OBP (.366 for his career), and a decent SLG% for a second baseman (.463), but the numbers are skewed as a result of the long stretches of season he has missed over his time with the Mets. All he needs to do is play everyday, and the numbers will pile up in a hurry.

As a fielder, his natural position is shortstop, but due to slow foot speed, he was moved to 2B by the Mets at the start of the 2010 season, where his limited range would not be as much of a factor. As a fairly accomplished infielder, Havens combines soft hands, athleticism, smarts, and a very good throwing arm. Having been a starting shortstop at a major college baseball program, Havens exhibits excellent maturity and leadership qualities. This translates to a player who is level headed and intelligent, and definitely posesses a “big league mind-set”. Is it out of the realm of possibility for Havens to make his debut at Citifield sometime next year? I’d say if he stays healthy, it will be inevitable.

Check back Thursday when we release the identity of #9, on the 2012 MMO Mets Top 20 Prospect list.

My short list includes:

  • Cesar Puello            RF
  • Juan Lagares           LF
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis    CF
  • Wilmer Flores         INF

2012 MMO Top 20 Prospects – Numbers 10 – 20

10.  Reese Havens             2B

11.  Cory Mazzoni             RHP

12.  Jordany Valdespin     INF

13.  Darin Gorski              LHP

14.  Phillip Evans             SS

15.  Jefry Marte                 3B

16.  Collin McHugh           RHP

17.  Juan Urbina               LHP

18.  Akeel Morris              RHP

19.  Michael Fulmer          RHP

20.  Danny Muno               INF