All of last season, the talk of Met nation was all concerned about Jose Reyes, obviously for good reason. Anytime a player wins the batting title and plays with the excitement and intensity of a player of Reyes’ caliber people are going to be talking about it. One of the aspects about Reyes’ game that most fans absolutely loved included the non baseball dynamics that he brought to the table. Passion, smiling, having fun, loose, exciting, childish, stylish, flair, are all words that have been used to describe the player that Met fans fell in love with. The majority of Met fans just assume all those adjectives have packed up and gone to the division rival Miami Marlins for a lucrative contract. I’m here to say, not so fast.
Enter Jordany Valdespin. The young Met middle infielder has certainly provided something exciting to watch during spring training other than Mike Pelfrey getting whiplash from watching balls get ripped over the fences. Valdespin certainly carries some of those Reyes characteristics we all loved. He’s got that smooth style that makes him look like he’s just out there trying to have fun. That kind of attitude can translate really well onto a team that coming into the season doesn’t look like it will be very competitive. A fiery manager like Terry Collins can always use a player who’s got that energizer bunny feel to him to help support his positive attitude. Heck, Reyes kept the Mets believing last year and made Terry Collins look great.
Now, for all of you out there saying how dare you compare Valdespin to Reyes, he’s not even close to the same player. I’m not saying that he’s the next Reyes or even close it. Jose Reyes is a special player that comes around once every decade or so and we were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to watch him suit up in the blue&orange. What I’m getting at is that I like the fire Valdespin brings to the table. It fits in well and can be really inspiring to a young team that’s still trying to find it’s identity and where it’s looking to go.
Baseball wise, it’s tough to argue against Valdespin’s versatility. His ability to play the middle infield and also patrol center field as we’ve seen in spring training can be incredibly valuable to this Met team that’s questionable at both positions. With Scott Hairston looking like he’ll be ready for opening day, Valdespin’s chances of coming north with the team don’t look promising but I’d love to see him get the opportunity. This spring training the young second basemen has produced a .317 avg and a .348 OBP, a stat that carries a lot of weight in the Sandy Alderson “Moneyball” regime. Last season while splitting time between AA and AAA, Valdespin posted an .801 OPS, swiping 37 bags, and finding some legitimate power with 17 home runs. It would be great to see the kid get a chance at the senior circuit to see how his numbers fare.
Bottom line is, the kid’s alright. Between the attitude he brings, versatility, and stats that Valdespin brings to the table, he should certainly be considered to break camp with the big league team. I hope that Jordany Valdespin gets the chance to compete for a starting job at either second base, shortstop, or centerfield. On a young team like this, a little more competition and spark can only bring out the best in the team. Keep an eye on Valdespin, even if he doesn’t make the big league club, he’s an exciting player to watch.