The Wrong Outfielder

Mets minor league outfielder Chip Ambres batting for the New Orleans ZephyrsWhen the Mets needed to promote another outfielder on June 8th, they chose Ricky Ledee.

Most likely, this is because Ledee is the illegitimate son of Willie Randolph — there hasn’t been any other tangible evidence he keeps showing up on the roster year after year.

However, the guy they should have brought up was Chip Ambres.

In six games last week, Ambres had 17 hits and three homeruns, capped by a 5-for-5 day on June 7th — the day before the Ledee promotion. Ambres hit .586 in that span, and was named the PCL Batter of the Week.

So why did the Mets bring up Ledee?

Oh, that’s right, they needed a lefthanded bat, not a righthanded one. And of course it’s much more important to have a veteran lefty bat available to swing and miss than to have a righty hitting .586.

Seriously, I’m sure that’s what played into the decision: Randolph’s “trust” (based on what, again?) in the “veteran” (i.e. journeyman) Ledee, and the fact they were keeping the righthanded-hitting Carlos Gomez on the roster. I believe Ben Johnson was also on the roster on that date, so it’s true the Mets would have been righty-heavy. However, when a guy is obviously “in the zone” the way Ambres was last week, you have to find a way to get him up to the big club and in the lineup. Streaks like that happen once in a lifetime — see: Kevin Maas, Shane Spencer, Mike Jacobs, et al.

Most likely, Ambres does not have the skills to contribute to the Mets over the long haul, but as long as he was as hot as he was, it’s strange he wouldn’t get the call. What’s a guy gotta do to earn a promotion?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Mets Today » Blog Archive » Goodbye Mr. Chip November 16, 2007 at 3:20 pm
    […] Chip spent nearly all of 2007 in New Orleans and played well, both in the field and at bat. While numerous Met outfielders injured themselves between April and July, Ambres was passed over again and again, despite swinging a good stick. The last straw came after Carlos Gomez went down with a wrist injury in at the same time Chip was in the midst of wreaking havoc on PCL pitching, batting .586 over a 7-game span and earning “Batter of the Week” honors. At that point, it would appear that the stars had lined up for the journeyman, but the Mets instead brought up his teammate Ricky Ledee. […]