New York Mets: What Happened to Second Base Prospect Reese Havens?

Vinny MessanaCorrespondent IJune 7, 2012

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 02:  RCH 02: Reese Havens #74 of the New York Mets poses for photos during MLB photo day on March 2, 2012 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

It is no secret that none of the professional first-year player drafts are an exact science, but baseball is easily the most uncertain.

First-round players are not guaranteed to reach the Major Leagues, and even some first overall picks have never played a game at the big league level. 

In 2008, the Mets drafted highly-touted infield prospect Reese Havens out of the University of South Carolina with the 22nd overall selection.

That year, the New York Mets had five picks in the top 100 of the draft. They selected four players—Ike Davis, Reese Havens, Brad Holt and Kirk Nieuwenhuis—that were mature college players that seemed destined for short stints in the minor leagues followed by promotions to the Major League club.

Of the bunch, Havens was arguably held in the highest regard.

His junior year at South Carolina was sensational. He hit .359 with 18 home runs in 63 games for the Gamecocks. That followed up his summer in the prestigious Cape Cod league in which he hit .314 with five home runs against the best college talent in the nation.

His defense was extremely advanced as well, as he was named to the All-Defensive team in the ultra-competitive SEC (South Eastern Conference).

At the time, the 21-year-old seemed on the fast track to the big leagues, as the Mets had very little depth in the minor leagues.

The addition of their four selections immediately boosted the credentials of the Mets farm system.

Fast forward to today, things are much different. The prospects that have generated the most buzz in the Mets minor league system are the trio of pitching prospects Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia.

With the transition of Daniel Murphy to second base—albeit an underwhelming showing thus far—and the emergence of Justin Turner as a competent back-up mitigates the need for Reese Havens.

So what has happened to the once-promising prospect who will turn 26 at the end of the season?

The primary problem has been an uncanny amount of injuries he has sustained since his professional career has began.

His father Brent, is just as perplexed as the rest of the Mets organization as he told the NY Times in a recent interview that, "his high school and college careers were basically injury free. And if he did have an injury he always healed quickly."

That has certainly not been the case so far, as he has failed to appear in 100 games in a season so far, with 97 being his best.

The injuries have been in abundance: elbow, groin, oblique and back injuries which occurred during Spring Training this season.

Aside from the injuries, his performance had been stellar for the most part. He hit .312 in 2010 and .288 in 2011 while playing for Double-A Binghamton.

This season, the story has been his dreadful hitting statistics. He has accumulated 99 at bats but only 16 hits and a woeful .584 OPS.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets slides in ahead of the tag of Eduardo Sanchez #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals and scores on a past ball at Citi Field on June 2, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Havens' stock has certainly dropped at this point, and he must now face multiple obstacles. Aside from staying healthy and proving his past his behind him, he must also regain the hitting stroke that allowed him to be regarded as one of the best middle-infield prospects in the game.

On top of that, youth is not on his side. Born in October of 1986, Havens is approaching the wrong side of his 20s, without the benefit of significant statistics to qualify for a promotion.

The Mets also are very high on Justin Turner, and another position change would need to occur in order to move Daniel Murphy out of Havens' way.

The clock is ticking rapidly on the Havens' prospect clock, and for the Mets' sake he better start hitting in order to see a return on their investment of four years ago.