I was on the phone the other day with a friend who is a die-hard Met fan like the rest of us. We got around to talking about the addition of Chris Young and we argued about the signing which he absolutely loved, but me not so much. He brings up all the what-if scenarios going 2-3 years back to bring up Young’s exploits which I can’t disagree with, the power is certainly there.
But then when we moved onto shortstop, he couldn’t stop ragging on Ruben Tejada. I asked him why he was so willing to go back three years to look at how good Young could be, but wouldn’t even consider that a year ago everyone was perfectly happy with Tejada? No answer.
Why is it that so many Met fans, even those who loved Tejada in 2011 and 2012, are so unwilling to give Tejada a chance to rebound at age 24? Is it that far-fetched to think that 2013 was the exception and not the rule?
I did some digging around and found some interesting quotes about Tejada from 2011 and 2012. Check ’em out…
MMO Joe D. – Dec. 30, 2011
Nobody is expecting Tejada to replace Jose Reyes, but it’s not far-fetched to say he may already be a far better defender than the former Mets star. If Ruben Tejada can make some incremental improvements to his offensive game along the way – something I fully expect him to do – then we could have something special at shortstop by the time we’re ready to make some noise again in the NL East.
Amazin Avenue – Dec, 26, 2012
But while Tejada lacks big-time projection, he also lacks big-time flaws. I’d venture to say that while his ceiling isn’t so high, his floor is. Ruben’s 2011 and 2012 proved that, if a few things don’t break exactly right, he still provides league-average value at a critical position for bargain-basement cost. The fact that his bat is playing at something close to league-average at the age of 22 speaks to his ability to be a starting-caliber player, long-term…If I squint *really* hard, I see a solid, productive regular at the position for a while, with the upside of a Yunel Escobar. And if Ruben merely repeats his 2012 performance for years to come, he certainly won’t be holding the Mets back.
MMO Ed Leyro – Sep. 22, 2011
Tejada has been a model of consistency at the plate, hitting .281 vs. RHP and .276 vs. LHP. He is also hitting .272 at Citi Field and .287 on the road. His .356 on-base percentage ranks second on the team behind Jose Reyes for players currently on the active roster. Tejada has also struck out only 47 times in 339 plate appearances. But what sets him apart from the Tejada we saw in 2010 is his ability to hit under pressure and in RBI spots. This year, Tejada is batting .304 with men on base and has a .377 OBP in those situations. With runners in scoring position, Tejada is a .286 hitter, but has reached base at a .383 clip. But those numbers are nothing compared to what he does when there is a runner 90 feet away from scoring. In all situations when he has stepped to the plate with a runner on third base, Tejada is hitting .375 and has a .425 OBP.
Wall Street Journal – July 16, 2012
In so many ways, Ruben Tejada remains linked to the man he replaced, Jose Reyes. Yet in his first season as the Mets’ starting shortstop, Tejada has also separated himself from his former teammate. He is far more than a protégé now. And his presence at the top of the lineup is anything but a reminder of what the Mets lost last winter. At age 22, Tejada has emerged as a valuable everyday player in his own right and, in doing so, helped ease the sting of losing Reyes. He isn’t the elite player Reyes was—and may never be—but when healthy, Tejada has been everything the Mets needed him to be this year: a slick fielder with a knack for getting on base. Those are two critical attributes on a team that has a scarcity of above-average fielders and, offensively, values plate discipline above all else.
ESPN Mark Simon – Dec. 5, 2011
Jose Reyes’ departure from the New York Mets clears the way for a potential defensive standout in 2012. Newest Mets everyday shortstop Ruben Tejada doesn’t hit or run like Reyes, but his defensive work rates higher statistically in one notable area. In 353 innings at shortstop, Tejada was credited with 24 Out of Zone plays. That’s a significant number. Tejada’s rate of one Out of Zone play for every 14.7 innings played ranked best among all major league shortstops that played at least 350 innings at the position last season. Additionally, Tejada’s play at the position passes the eye test.
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It’s looking more and more like Tejada will be at shortstop for us on Opening Day – like it or not. He is not that far removed from what was two good seasons in which he produced at an above average level and at a remarkably young age. He did this under intense pressure as well.
Why not give the kid a break and give him a shot to redeem himself… He’s been working his ass off all Winter long and is committed to taking his performance to a higher level. Tejada never gripes or complains, and let’s not pretend he wasn’t treated very unfairly at times by his own manager Terry Collins.
Here are a few videos I found to remind you how good Tejada can be on defense and offense…
Tejada On Defense
Tejada On Offense