Monday, December 22, 2008

Back-up 1B & possible future position holder...

When the Mets acquired J.J. Putz he came with two other players, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed. Most viewed the others as throw-ins to balance out the multi-player deal. But as I've pointed out before Omar has done pretty good with the throw-in players ( Maine, Perez ) and lets not forget him finding Nady, which at the time was considered a salary dump of Cammy a player wanting to be traded with no value.

It seems like many are starting to look differently at Sean Green and think he might be a solid middle reliever but Reed still seems to be considered an extra part. I completed posts on both players last week; Reed here and Green here.

Last year I thought one of the teams main flaws was that the bench wasn't designed to cover every position adequately. For much of the year they carried three catchers, two 2B and 2 corner infielders playing LF. I think it's essential for them to carry a back-up middle infielder who can play SS, which Easley really didn't have the range for anymore. Carlos Delgado played way too many games last year and the main reason for that was the Mets didn't have someone to cover the position while Delgado rested. Tatis was in left, Murphy and Evans were new to the outfield and Manuel didn't want to overwhelm the young players.

This year the Mets won't have that problem if Jeremy Reed makes the club. Reed is considered a prospect bust who at best is a younger version of Endy Chavez but just three years ago he was the number one prospect on two different organizations prospect lists ( White Sox & Mariners) with the same Sickel's rating as F-Mart ( B+). The counter argument for Reed could be that he struggled offensively his rookie season and then an injury buried him in a tumultuous system. Could his offensive struggles been due to his focus on defense, he had been considered an average fielder but in his first season lead the league at the center fielder position with a range factor of 3.05.

But what could land Reed a roster spot is his versatility. His first two years in college he played a very good 1B; his foot speed, first step reaction and baseball instincts landed him in center field by his Junior year at Long Beach State. He played a good enough CF and hit even better, which resulted in the White Sox's drafting him with a projection as a major league starting center fielder. But that was at 165lbs., as the youngster filled out to his now 185-195lbs he no longer projects as a starter in center. Thanks, to his great jump on the ball he can still fill-in at center but has been used more as a corner outfielder.

Late in the season Seattle brought up the idea of returning him to 1B, he ended up playing one game at the position but could easily transition back and forth between 1B and the outfield. Unlike Murphy or Evans neither position is new to Reed and his ceiling is much higher then both, in fact a review by his former coach Wally Backman sounds like Murphy but he also has the glove to go with it.....

It's likely Reed will get a start at first base sometime in the next week or so. It's not a foreign position to him. He played about 1 1/2 seasons of first base at Long Beach State.

"From what I've heard he was a really good first baseman in college," manager Jim Riggleman said. "I told him to start taking some grounders there because with our outfield and DH situations, it makes sense."source

Reed can really hit. He not only has a simple stroke that allows him to make contact almost at will but he also has a terrific eye for the strike zone. He walked nearly twice as much as he struck out in 2003. Wally Backman, his manager at Birmingham, says Reed has such an advanced ability to anticipate pitches that he sometimes helps teammates prepare for at-bats. Like a young Rafael Palmeiro, Reed uses the whole park with his line-drive stroke and should develop more power in time, though he’ll generate a lot more doubles than homers. He’ll probably max out at 15-20 homers annually. source Baseball America

The same Sox official raved about his "plus-plus makeup," which is scouting lingo for a really smart guy. Reed has a great work ethic and maximized every opportunity he has been given. source Baseball Prospectus