Friday, February 3, 2012

Ruben Tejada the next New York Superstar ?

Written by Tim Horodyski
Editor's Note: This is Tim Horodyski's first article with Mets Fever, it's the one of three articles as a guest writer and based on what we've read we hope he decides to join us permanently.  
Photo by Michael Baron 
When does a young ballplayer turn from an up and coming prospect to an established major league talent?   The answer various base on the player.  Has Ruben Tejada shaken off the label of prospect?  The answer is yes, Tejada has become a major league talent.   The Panama born Tejada has done it in a very unusual way.

Ruben Tejada was not the ideal prospect.  He was signed by the Mets at age 17.  He was thrust into the major leagues at age 20.  Tejada isn’t known for his control of the strike zone, nor will he ever be a power hitter.  He doesn’t bring the energy of Jose Reyes or the flashiness of Texas Rangers shortstop, Elvis Andrews. The thing he brings to the table is a sense of calmness and confidence that many young players do not possess. The future superstar has progressed well at the major league level.

In two major league seasons Tejada had racked up 544 at bats.  In those at bats he is hitting .256 with an on base percentage (OBP) of .338.   He has one home run and 53 runs batted in (RBI).  Those numbers do not jump off the page and yell out superstar; however you must look deeper at his body of work.

In 2010 he posted a dismal .213 batting average and an OBP of .305 in 255 plate appearances; which lead fans to think he was a fringe player that would never fully develop into a major league star.  After being sent down to the minor leagues he continued to work hard.  He continued to get stronger physically and mentally.   Tejada has always had great baseball instincts; which is one of the reasons why the Mets have rushed his development.  He worked hard on his offense, working to have more quality at bats. His recent ability to make contact and hit line drives is a sign that his bat speed has improved along with his ability to read pitches. This makes him a much better offensive choice for the Mets.

One of Ruben’s best attributes is his glove.  Tejada has smoothness to his defensive game that few young players display and has the arm strength to turn the double play. In 2011 he was brought back to the major league level because of injuries on the Mets roster.  He played second base when Daniel Murphy tore his MCL.  Tejada later played his natural position of shortstop when Jose Reyes went on the disable list.

The then 21 year old Tejada made the most of his playing time in 96 games and 328 at bats he posted a .284 average and a .360 OBP. The last half of the season Tejada batted .299 with a .361 OBP, 11 extra base hits, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored in 160 plate appearances spanning 40 games.  This should make Mets fans happy.  He has impressed the Mets coaching staff, particularly his manager, Terry Collins.  Mets fans will indeed be looking forward to watching Tejada having an outstanding career in Flushing.  There is no doubt that Tejada will be making the Mets 50th year anniversary season very fun to watch.

Whether playing second base or shortstop Tejada will be a fixture in the Mets infield for years to come.  To learn more about Ruben Tejada or the New York Mets please visit the Mets online at http://www.mets.com/ or http://www.losmets.com/.  To learn more about the Mets 50th year anniversary celebration plans please visit http://www.mets50.com/

Note from the author.

My name is Tim Horodyski and I live in New York with my wife of four years.  I have been a lifelong fan of the game of baseball.  I root for the New York Mets.  Baseball has a deep meaning for me.  One of my earliest childhood memories is going to Opening Day 1987 at Shea Stadium with my father.  That was the day the Mets received their World Series rings.  Darryl Strawberry hit a three run home run to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.  So it is a great honor to be coving the Mets for their 50th year anniversary, so let’s hope the Amazing Mets have a great season.  Let’s Go Mets!!!

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