Is Jordany Valdespin the Mets' Answer in the Leadoff Spot?
The New York Mets are playing some great ball right now, and despite the fact that the season is still very young, there are more than a few reasons to expect much of the same in the coming months.
Though I would like to say that the young pitching has been the highlight of the season so far, surprisingly enough, it's been the offense that has been clicking on all cylinders. The Mets have hit at least one home run in each of their first 11 games, and they are second in the league in runs scored and RBI. Every player has contributed a little something to this offensive outburst, but standouts like John Buck and Daniel Murphy have been the real producers.
We should take a look at a less talked about player in Jordany Valdespin, however. He has appeared in nine of the team's 11 games and started three of them in the leadoff spot. All in all, so far he is 7-for-13 with a stolen base, two walks and four runs scored while hitting in the leadoff spot.
Pair that with his overall OBP of .458, and it looks as if the Mets might have themselves something special. Valdespin is also nimble in the outfield and capable of running down any ball. That speed also carries over to the basepaths and gives the Mets a legitimate base stealing threat.
However, his game does have a few flaws. The 25-year-old can come off as cocky, and that can cause him to get a little too confident at times. Confidence certainly breeds success, but Valdespin is full of himself (just take a look at his Instagram).
We haven't seen too much of it this year, but this "do no wrong" attitude has led him to making stupid mistakes and just looking silly. This is no way an attack on him, though, because I actually find his pictures humorous and would rather have someone who is too cocky, as opposed to a nervous wreck like a Mike Pelfrey or John Maine, whose Mets careers didn't turn out too well to say the least.
Does Jordany Valdespin have what it takes to become the Mets' leadoff hitter?
If Valdespin can continue to make strides in his all-around game and stay focused, then I have a feeling that his role with the Mets will grow substantially. He has loads of natural talent and just needs to continue to learn the ins and outs of the game.
Jordany should be out there on the field and leading off every game until he proves that he doesn't belong. He seems like the team's best option at the moment, and it can't hurt to give him a chance to show what he can bring to the team.
External options have become a true possibility for New York now that its finances are finally starting to get straightened out, but the Mets shouldn't spend any money they don't need to. If Valdespin really does flourish in the role, then he would be a cheap and talented option for the team.
Now is the time for the organization to take a look at what it's got, and there is no better test than real games. It would be a great thing for manager Terry Collins to continue slotting him in the leadoff spot and investing time and trust in him. The Mets have lacked a true leadoff hitter since Jose Reyes left, and it is only right for the team to give Valdespin a shot.
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