The Mets 2013 Keepers: Ruben Tejada

Tejada looks to be more than a stopgap at short

There aren’t many definite keeper caliber players on the current Mets roster, but there is no doubt Tejada is one of them. He is not there yet, but he may be on his way to being a “core” guy for us.

Ruben, 22, has shown that he has the potential to be a much better hitter than most fans, scouts, coaches, and probably our own General Manager, even thought. He appears to have all the makings of being our shortstop and number two hitter of the future. Tejada is currently batting .307, which is a much higher average than anticipated. He has a nice level swing, and as a result makes consistent solid contact hitting a lot of line drives. He also has decent speed, although you may not be able to tell by his lone stolen base so far this year.

Tejada was well known for his glove prior to this season. We knew he had the goods there and he has not disappointed. He has above average range, a solid arm and a good glove. He has nine errors on the season thus far, which is a number that we would like to go down, and one that probably will as he develops.

The one knock on Ruben is that he really has no power to speak of. He has only one homer this year, and just two over three seasons in his young career.

However, instead of home run power he has gap power, and will hopefully become more of a doubles hitter as he bulks up. He already appears to be improving in this area as he had 15 doubles last season and already has 20 this year.

Tejada’s contract will be very favorable for the next 5 years. He is not eligible for arbitration until 2014 and is slated to become a free agent following the 2016 season.

While Ruben may not have the speed and power of Jose Reyes, he definitely has the tools to be a solid Major League shortstop. Tejada has separated himself from the pack due to his solid all around game. He doesn’t seem to have a glaring weakness such as Ike’s strikeouts or Murphy’s defense. Ruben continues to flash his potential very early in his career. He will still make the occasional poor throw or have a ball go through the wickets, but that is all part of the development process.

Mets fans, we have a very young talented shortstop we can build around for the next 10 years. That is not very easy to come by. At least it looks as though we have one critical up the middle position filled. Now if we could only solidify the other three.