The Second Base Dilemma (Part 1 – The Pretenders)

Russ Adams

Russ Adams: A Guy Who Should Not Be The Starting Second Baseman

This year, the New York Mets enter the regular season with seven out of eight position spots pretty much decided. The only major decision (well, in this regard, at least) that Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, and the rest of the front office need to decide is this: who will man the pivot to start the season?

Without the option to go out and acquire a veteran, starting-caliber second baseman, the team is left with internal options and a few new acquisitions to try and fill in the blank. Going through the spring training / organizational depth charts, there are about nine candidates who could, reasonably speaking, fit the role of a starting major league second baseman. They are:

  • Luis Castillo
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Brad Emaus
  • Chin-lung Hu
  • Justin Turner
  • Jordany Valdespin
  • Luis Hernandez
  • Russ Adams

There’s actually another person who fits on this list, and that’s Jose Reyes. I mean, he used to be a second baseman for the team. But since we’re not taking crazy pills, we’ll leave him out of the discussion at first. The important thing is to eliminate a number of these players from contention. We can’t get to a decision with all of these pivotmen cluttering up the joint. So which of these guys should we remove from contention early on?

#9 – Jordany Valdespin

Valdespin is a good young prospect. Toby Hyde (over at the inimitable Mets Minor League Blog) ranks him as the #37 prospect in the Mets’ system, and describes him as:

“…[with] below average game power, Valdespin still must become more patient at the plate and learn to leverage his speed into becoming a weapon on the basepaths.”

Terrific. Did I mention that the farthest up the minor league ladder he’s played is AA? Or how about that he’s already 23 years old? He’s neither developed enough, nor skilled enough to step in and be the Opening Day second baseman. Not even on the Mets.

#8 – Luis Hernandez

Everything about Luis Hernandez screams “replacement-level” to me. Take a look at his stats from last year. We’ll leave out his time in AA, because, well, it’s AA. :

AAA – In 208 plate appearances, he notched a .280/.319/.376 triple-slash and a .301 wOBA.

ML – In 47 plate appearances, he notched a .250/.298/.409 triple-slash and a .317 wOBA.

Obviously, 47 plate appearances is too small of a sample to get worked up about. His career wOBA is nowhere near this level, and his fielding has never been superlative – though advanced stats have shown that some of the time he’s played shortstop, he’s played it very well. But Hernandez doesn’t pass the eye test – by all appearances, he’s overmatched at the major league level. And he’s especially overmatched at the plate. With his versatility, he may be a worthwhile utility guy, but again, the Mets’ options should are still better than Luis Hernandez.

#7 – Russ Adams

Historically a poor-fielding, decent-hitting middle infield utility guy, Russ is a former Blue Jay who has hooked on with the Mets as a non-roster invitee to spring training. I’m going to throw this out here now, but I expect I’ll say more about it later: the Mets cannot afford to have a poor defender at second base this year.

With that in mind, there are three factors that come into play when discussing Russ Adams:

  1. Russ is not a good fielder.
  2. Russ projects to, at best, post a wOBA of .320 or so. This is hardly good, especially for an upside.
  3. The Mets lose nothing financially or for the future by leaving him off the 25-man roster.

The Mets need to either start playing someone who can help the team in the future, or they need to play the best possible person to help them win now. In almost no scenario does Russ Adams fit either of those criteria. That’s about all I need to eliminate him from contention.

So, to close up this post – we’ve eliminated Valdespin, Hernandez, and Adams, leaving the following contenders:

  • Luis Castillo
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Brad Emaus
  • Chin-lung Hu
  • Justin Turner

In my next post, we’ll see who else should be eliminated from contention.

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1 Comment

Filed under Jordany Valdespin, Luis Hernandez, Russ Adams

One response to “The Second Base Dilemma (Part 1 – The Pretenders)

  1. Pingback: Terry Collins and Luis Hernandez vs. The World | The Extra Base

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