Over the last two months, the Mets have recalled some of their highly-touted prospects to take the place of their injured veterans. However, Jerry Manuel insists on giving his more experienced players the bulk of the playing time while the youngsters sit the bench. SNY analyst and former Met great Keith Hernandez claimed that at this point in the season with the Mets hovering around .500, he would like to see the young players develop so the Mets can determine their roles for next year. I agree with Keith and have set up the following position-by-position analysis.
Ike Davis vs. Mike Hessman
Davis has experienced a hot and cold rookie season, though it is clear he has established himself as the first baseman of the future. If this is the case, why has Jerry Manuel been sitting Ike against lefties in favor of Mike Hessman? Manuel claims that there is no platoon with these players, and he is just giving Ike a rest. Despite his .273 AVG against lefties, Davis has not played the last few games against southpaws. Hessman, the active leader in minor league HRs, is a solid power bat off the bench but should not be placed in a starting role.
Josh Thole vs. Henry Blanco/Rod Barajas
With the way Rod Barajas started this season, the Mets were content with letting Josh Thole develop in AAA Buffalo for the year. However, age caught up with Barajas, which has allowed Thole to get his shot. When he first came up, Thole was unstoppable at the plate, batting over .500 through his first 20 ABs. Recently, Henry Blanco, a more than adequate back-up, has been splitting time with Thole. While Blanco has played well this season, Thole is the future and should be given every opportunity to improve, even when Barajas returns from the DL.
Ruben Tejada vs. Luis Castillo
This one is a no-brainer. Despite his .177 AVG, Tejada has provided excellent up-the-middle defense for the Mets at 2B. His ability to turn the double play has saved the Mets on numerous occasions this year. The Mets are reluctant to bench Castillo due to his contract. It appears as though this will be Castillo’s last season in a Mets’ uniform, and therefore, the Mets should not have any qualms about playing Tejada.
Fernando Martinez vs. Jeff Francoeur
I personally am a big fan of Jeff Francoeur. His all-out hustle on every play and emergence as a team leader inspires his teammates everyday. However, a .234 AVG and over-anxiety at the plate has led to a platoon with Fernando Martinez. Though F-Mart has struggled thus far in his first few games, now is the perfect time to see what he is made of because he is finally healthy. With Angel Pagan enjoying a career year and Carlos Beltran starting to heat up, the only place for F-Mart to get playing time is in RF, Francoeur’s spot. Of all the battles, this one is the most difficult to solve because Francoeur has the ability to be an impact player. Nonetheless, Jeff’s inconsistency has opened the door for F-Mart to make the most of his opportunity.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mancari
James (Jim) Mancari hails from Massapequa, NY. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with degrees in History and Kinesiology. Jim currently is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets' fans, Jim has plenty of hope. Jim also writes for the NJ Nets on this site. He can be contacted at email@example.com. He appreciates and respects additional opinions.