Tag: anderson hernandez

2010 Analysis: Ruben Tejada

After it was discovered that Jose Reyes would miss several weeks of spring training and Opening Day due to a thyroid problem, the 20-year-old Ruben Tejada was suddenly thrust into a big-league job – with backup from wily veteran Alex Cora.

In truth, Tejada was nowhere near ready for prime-time, despite the hoopla provided by the Omar Minaya Prospect Hype Machine. Tejada displayed some raw skills that suggested he might some day develop into a solid defensive player, and occasional glimpses that he might one day hit enough to justify a spot on an MLB roster. Even after 78 games in the bigs, the jury is still out on whether or not Tejada truly belonged there, and no one is sure if he’ll ever be more than a utilityman. I said it many times before and I’ll say it again: right now, Ruben Tejada resembles Anderson Hernandez at a similar age, and projects to be a similar player in the future.

People who are enthralled with the idea of “homegrown Mets” don’t like to hear that, but the truth is, AHern has been a big leaguer for six years – that’s no small feat. It’s all about perspective; if you are of the ilk that Tejada is poised to be a future All-Star, then you might deem my evaluation as a slap in the face; on the other hand, if you have seen other 20-year-old infielders, and are realistic about the difficulties associated with reaching and staying in the bigs, you can understand my conservative position.

What I saw from Tejada in 2010 was a kid who has soft hands, good feet, and a strong throwing arm. From what I saw he looks like he has the overall skills to be an average to above-average MLB shortstop. Not an Ozzie Smith, Rey Ordonez, or even Jose Oquendo, but rather, something along the lines of a young Edgar Renteria or Cristian Guzman – and that’s not too shabby. That’s what his skillset tells me, not his performance. To me it looks like he can do a better job on both ends of the double play, he needs to be more consistent with his fielding mechanics, and his throwing accuracy from multiple angles needs more development. Additionally – and as with just about all young infielders – he needs to learn when to hold the ball and when to eat it; that comes only with experience.

At the plate, Tejada was abysmal, hitting .213 with a .305 OBP and a .588 OPS. Again, evidence that he had no business in MLB – he was clearly overmatched and lacking in confidence. His swing mechanics varied greatly from at-bat to at-bat, and sometimes from pitch to pitch. I’m guessing that he either was in the midst of changing his swing, or simply raw and without guidance on what he should be doing (not unlike a young pitcher who changes his arm angles from pitch to pitch). Either way, once he figures out what to do with his head, hands, hips, and feet, he then has to learn an approach. Maybe he can develop both at the same time, though that’s difficult – it’s hard to think and hit at the same time.

2011 Projection

I don’t see Tejada playing in MLB in 2011, even if injuries open up a middle infield spot, as the Alderson-led front office has no motivation to put youngsters in the bigs to save their job or falsely “prove” that the Mets farm system is capable of producing big leaguers. The truth is, another year in MLB won’t help Tejada nearly as much as a full season in AA or AAA, where he can develop his skills and confidence away from the bright lights and pressure of pro ball in New York City. The kid is only 21 years old and has plenty of time to polish his game – and showed enough of a skill set to believe that he could one day develop into a Major Leaguer. He’s not unlike Jose Oquendo, who was similarly overmatched as a 19-year-old in 1983. Oquendo spent a half-year in the minors in ’84 and then a full season of AA in ’85 honing his overall game before becoming “The Secret Weapon” for Whitey Herzog in the late ‘80s. It’s possible that a similar career path would do wonders for Tejada’s future.

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AHern Exiled Again

For the second time in two years, the Mets have sent Anderson Hernandez packing.

AHern was placed on waivers this week and claimed by the Cleveland Indians.

This move perplexes me from both sides. The Mets have a sudden issue in the middle infield, due to Jose Reyes’ indefinite thyroid condition. With Hernandez gone, the Mets have only two players in the organization with more than 5 games’ MLB experience at shortstop: Russ Adams and Alex Cora (oh, sorry, I forgot about Jolbert Cabrera … though, I wouldn’t consider him a shortstop any more than I’d consider Mike Jacobs a catcher).

What the Indians want with Hernandez is also a bit quizzical; they have veteran Mark Grudzielanek and AHern clone Luis Rodriguez fighting for the backup 2B spot — though I suppose neither is impressing Cleveland’s brain trust if they cleared a spot for Hernandez.

I don’t think Anderson Hernandez had much of a future with the Mets, and I think his value is as a defensive-minded second baseman — a luxury few rosters can afford in the 21st century. But after seeing that revolving door at shortstop last year — the one that ultimately moved the Mets to reacquire AHern — it seems strange he’d be let go.

Ramon Martinez better not change his phone number.

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2009 Analysis: Anderson Hernandez

ahern-foldIt’s hard to believe that Anderson Hernandez was the Mets’ starting second baseman on Opening Day 2006. Harder to believe that his stock sunk so far that he was traded for Luis Ayala at the tail end of 2008. And yet even more difficult to believe the Mets were so desperate for a middle infielder that they traded a nondescript A-ball suspect to bring him back to Flushing.

Three years ago, A-Hern was a slick fielding, weak-hitting second baseman with enough arm and range to impress at shortstop in a pinch. In 2009, A-Hern was a

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No Giving Up Yet

white-flagIt turns out that the trade for Anderson Hernandez was a message to the rest of the world that the New York Mets are BUYERS, and still have a chance to propel themselves into the postseason.

Furthermore, the installation of Bobby Parnell into the starting rotation is a move to bolster, rather than hinder, the team’s chances. (Though I think it would behoove the Mets to check the Farmer’s Almanac and try to coincide Parnell’s starts with days that it is expected to rain. They may get lucky and end up with games that are halted after five innings.)

We know the Mets have not yet surrendered, and in fact are still focused on “playing meaningful games in September”, because in an article today by Adam Rubin, in which the subject was the possible trade of Billy Wagner:

Furthermore, the Mets aren’t at the stage yet where they’re writing off 2009, so giving serious consideration to trading Wagner is still a couple of weeks away. “I think everyone still feels there’s a 10-game win streak around the corner,” a team insider optimistically said.

So there you have it — the Mets are still in this thing. Book your tickets now to watch the pennant race heat up in September … and hurry, before games are sold out !!!

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Mets Trade for Anderson Hernandez

anderson-hernandez_thecatchTwo weeks short of the anniversary of the trade of Anderson Hernandez for Luis Ayala, the Mets have reacquired the slick-fielding middle infielder from the Washington Nationals.

Almost immediately upon arriving in Washington last year, AHern swatted the baseball like he never did before, batting .333 with a .409 OBP in 28 games and 91 plate appearances, walking 10 times and striking out only 8. That offensive outburst was enough to make us wonder if the Mets made a mistake in giving up on the previously light-hitting Hernandez — who perennially leads the Caribbean winter league in batting but flops upon returning to the States.

However, Hernandez went right back to his expected offensive output this year — .251 AVG, .310 OBP, 41 Ks in 255 times to the plate. So we can presume that 28-game hot streak was an aberration.

So it’s interesting that the Mets would bring him back to Flushing, considering he is redundant to Wilson Valdez and Argenis Reyes — both of whom remain in Buffalo. Though, personally, I always enjoyed watching AHern and given the choice of all three, would take him over Reyes and Valdez.

In return for AHern, the Mets sent A-ball infielder Greg Veloz to the Nats. Veloz is sort of a 21-year-old version of Hernandez (or Argenis Reyes) — a switch-hitting middle-infielder with above-average speed. He doesn’t have the fielding prowess of AHern nor Argenis, and in fact there was a time that the Mets felt he’d hit enough to move to 3B (he was their #16 prospect in 2008 according to Baseball America). However, he hit a disappointing 6 HRs in a little less than 600 plate appearances last season, and is hitting only .232 with 2 HR through 91 games thus far this year.

For a moment, I questioned why the rebuilding Nationals would trade away a still-young, Gold-Glove caliber second baseman but I guess they don’t see AHern hitting enough to ever be a regular. And, they have acquired a youngster who is quickly becoming a non-prospect but still has time to rebound. It’s not like the Nats are going anywhere in 2010 nor 2011, so they have time to wait.

With the arrival of AHern, I’m guessing that Luis Castillo’s “mild ankle strain” is worse than originally indicated.

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2009 Fantasy Projections: Second Base

When last we met, I was telling you that Albert Pujols was the best NL first baseman and you weren’t surprised. But you were probably surprised that I think two of the top 5 first basemen in the NL East aren’t even first basemen. Moving along…

Second Base Rankings – National League

  1. Chase Utley .345-20-95 – It’s a given that Utley’s off-season hip surgery will cut down his SB totals. But if Utley is healthy – and he appears to be – the only other side effect of his surgery MIGHT be that he shortens up his stroke and uses his hands more (think Wade Boggs). I can’t see that leading to anything but an inverse relationship between BA and HR. In other words, I expect a higher BA and lower HR totals, or no change at all. So if he plays all season, you’re safe.
  2. Brandon Phillips .275-25-80 – Solid pop, solid speed, nice ballpark for a power hitter and I like the Reds to surprise people this year with a wildcard run.
  3. Dan Uggla .260-28-95 – My favorite player on this list. He helped me win a 5×5 mixed league last year and he is tough as nails. He will be overvalued this year, so don’t get sucked in… But don’t expect his BA to drop back into the .230-zone. This guy is a capable, albeit flawed, hitter. If you need the HR/RBI, you’ll get it from Uggla.
  4. Kelly Johnson .290-15-75 – I’m not sure what the ceiling will be on Johnson’s offensive output, but his BA has increased each of the past three years and he has decent pop in his bat. That’s enough for #4.
  5. Kazuo Matsui .285-5-35 – You may not know it, but the Astros were eliminated from the NL Central Race AND the NL Wildcard yesterday. Seriously. Look for Kaz to notch 30+ SB and a decent BA with absolutely no pressure on him.

Sleepers (Tie) – I like Felipe Lopez  (.275-10-65) and Ian Stewart (.275-15-75). Lopez should be running more this season – possibly enough for 25 SB. Stewart has multi-position eligibility and he should see significant time between 1B, 2B and 3B with Colorado’s lineup struggling through nagging injuries already.

Second Base Rankings – NL East

Three of the top five second basemen in the NL are also in the NL East. It makes you wonder who is manning 2B out in the NL West. Is Robbie Thompson still playing?

  1. Chase Utley – see above
  2. Dan Uggla – see above
  3. Kelly Johnson – see above
  4. Luis Castillo .285-3-35 – He’s not as bad as last year’s numbers but he’s still not as good as Omar needs him to be. His average won’t hurt you, but his power numbers will do nothing for you. If he is healthy enough to steal 20 bases and score 100 runs, he’s worth a few bucks in NL-only leagues.
  5. Anderson Hernandez (Yikes-Zero-Not Much) – Hernandez batted .194 in AAA last season. Look for Ronnie Belliard to take over shortly…

Sleeper Ronnie Belliard (.270-12-70) – He’s getting older and he’s never been much of an offensive threat, but he’s on the Nationals and playing behind Anderson Hernandez. I feel confident enough to say he will get at least 400 AB. Grab him cheap in NL-only leagues, if you can.

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