It is becoming increasingly likely that IF/OF Jordany Valdespin will make the Mets opening day roster. It’s important that Valdespin makes the roster and receives at least semi-regular playing time. It is important because he is one of the few Mets hitters who has the upside to hit for power and average while stealing bases as shown in his short 191 at-bats last season.
In his short time in the majors, Valdespin’s major weakness has been his inability to consistently reach base, posting a meager .241 AVG and .286 OBP last season. Many question the violent nature of his swing but, as sportscaster Keith Hernandez has broken it down on broadcasts, the swing is a surprisingly smooth and level swing. Valdespin’s MLB totals were far lower than his career minor league totals where he posted a .283 AVG and .330 OBP. This season it can easily be projected that his average will rise to somewhere in the .260 to .270 range. His ability to draw more walks is questionable. The Mets can only hope that hitting coach Dave Hudgens (a supposed on base expert) is able to work with Valdespin on his plate discipline.
Valdespin’s spring training will likely secure him a spot on the opening day roster, but spring training numbers can often be deceiving. The most significant occurrence to come out of spring training regarding Valdespin is the multiple positions he’s playing. He has shown the ability to play the middle infield relatively well, but if he is going to get playing time with the Mets it will most likely be in the outfield. It is good to see him playing center field this spring after playing a handful of games in left field last season.
Valdespin still looks unnatural in the outfield, but that is to be expected from a career infielder. With his athleticism and speed, his defense can only improve with more repetitions. It’s important for him to get a lot of playing time early in the season to see if he can build upon his bench role from last season, and become a better, more well-rounded player. It is extremely important for the Mets to figure out what they have in Valdespin