Bobby Kielty: Battle for the New York Mets Bench

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2009

Over the next few weeks many players will battle it out in Port St. Lucie to try to win a spot on the New York Mets bench. For the next few days we will look at some of those competing for the spot and analyze their chances at winning the job.

The first player we will profile is a former top Minnesota Twins prospect, Bobby Kielty.

Kielty, who signed with the Twins in 1999, began his Major League career in 2001. Kielty was not very successful in his first year in the majors, hitting only .250 in 118 plate appearances.

The following season, Kielty was much more successful, as he raised his average to .291 and hit 12 home runs. He also finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year vote.

Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane thought so much of Kielty that he traded pitcher Ted Lilly to the Blue Jays in 2004 in order to acquire him.

Since then, however Kielty has never seemed to perform well. Over the past three years he has bounced around the Red Sox and Athletics minor league affiliates, as well as some stints with the big league clubs.

If he makes the roster, the Mets would plan on using him as a power switch-hitter off the bench.

Kielty will face some stiff competition with veterans Rob Mackowiak, Jeremy Reed, and Cory Sullivan.

Kielty separates himself from the pack because of his ability to draw walks. However, his lack of speed as well as a low average will hurt his chances at making the team out of Spring Training.

Most likely, Kielty will begin the season with the Mets AAA affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, and could join the big league roster via a midseason call up.