The Mets have two infielders in Jose Reyes and David Wright on the left side who are young and still developing, and they have two infielders on the right side in Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo, who are still productive but clearly in their declining years.
Reyes and Wright are home grown talent who are both very dynamic and a lot of fun to watch in the grit and dirty uniform sort of way. The two frequently have smiles on their faces so you know they are enjoying what they do, and that is rare in baseball.
Jose Reyes will be given more responsibility this year to be more of an infield general and work with the other infielders in positioning, to help his growth and maturity. This is something that will be a challenge to him, but Jerry Manuel feels that it is important for Reyes' career and personal development.
David Wright is the unofficial captain of the Mets who shows maturity beyond his years on and off the field. He is pulled in so many different directions, mental and physical fatigue is an issue, especially later in the game. Poor clutch hitting numbers seem to play a part, this is something he will need to show progress in during 2009. He is constantly making adjustments in his personal game and learning from veterans with due respect, which is admirable, he did make the most of his opportunity to soak in their knowledge during the World Baseball Classic.
Luis Castillo was acquired by the Mets from the Twins to be our every day second baseman. Injuries have plagued his progress and he was booed by the Shea faithful last season to the point of him not wanting to play home games in front of the merciless crowd. Castillo showed that he was serious this winter about getting into shape, he lost about 17 pounds and has worked very hard to show his commitment to both his teammates and the fans.
Carlos Delgado had a very slow start in 2008 due to injuries but really excelled during the second half under Jerry Manuel's management. The Mets are hoping that his 2009 season will be more reflective of his 2008 second half as that is what is needed to help put them on top in the NL East. His slugging numbers are comparable with both Wright and Carlos Beltran, they are the undisputed heart of the lineup while Reyes and Castillo are the guys to get on base and let the big guys drive the runs home.
Wright and Delgado are already established clubhouse and field leaders who do mentor the younger players, while Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes are among the followers. Castillo does not have the leadership expectations but Reyes needs some of those responsibilities to keep him focused.
All four players get along very well and work together to keep the infield plays working effectively.
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