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The biggest question for the Mets in 2011 besides the starting rotation was who would play second base. Right now the Mets feature Luis Castillo, Ruben Tejada, Chin-Lung Hu, Brad Emaus, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy. While there are seven opting for second base this year, Ruben Tejada will start at Triple-A in 2011 and likely play there all year. Sandy Alderson believes he was rushed to the majors and therefore has much to gain with another year in the minors. The other six vying for second base all have a legitimate shot.
As much as it pains me to say it, Luis Castillo could win the second baseman job. Luis had a horrible season last year, playing only 86 games while batting .236 and hitting no home runs with 17 RBI. He also has been very shaky at second base the past few years, and the moment that signifies this was the dropped pop-up against the Yankees that turned an 8-7 win into a 9-8 loss.
He is the only player in this lot who has actually played a full season at second base and is a well-seasoned veteran, though. He will probably play a limited role to let some of the rookies/younger players a chance at the big leagues.
Chin-Lung Hu is primarily a SS who was continuously ranked highly in the minors but never saw his skills translate to the majors. Hu is a long shot at winning the second baseman job and will most likely play the Alex Cora role for the Mets this season.
Justin Turner is a 26 year old who batted .336 with the Orioles and Mets (in AAA) last year with 12 home runs and 46 runs batted in. Turner is a long shot to win second base but will still play for it in spring training this year.
Brad Emaus is the most interesting player trying for the second base job. Emaus was claimed off the Blue Jays via the rule 5 draft. Emaus hit .290 with 15 home runs and 75 runs batted in while touting an excellent .397 on-base percentage between Double-A and Triple-A in 2010. Emaus could be a very good option at 2B with his mix of speed (13-of-15 SB) and 24 home runs. His defense is solid, and a good spring training could very well gain him the starting job.
Daniel Murphy is the last Met in the running for second base. Murphy has had a couple of solid seasons at the plate and would already be an above average hitter as a second baseman. The only problem is that Murphy must return from a season-ending injury and his lack of success in the past at second base. Murphy is known as a well below-average defender, and during his dabble at second base, he had five errors in only 17 games and 50 errors in 190 games at his natural position of third base.
I think it would be a long shot for Murphy to win the job at second base. He can hit decently, but his offensive numbers by no means would be able to make up for his defense. Emaus will probably split time with Castillo in the majors, due to his upside, or if he is sent to the minors, he will go back to the Blue Jays.