New York Mets Hope Their Young Stars Can Show They Belong

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2011

Ruben Tejada will get a chance to show he can be an every day player
Ruben Tejada will get a chance to show he can be an every day playerAndrew Burton/Getty Images

Due to numerous injuries to every day players, the Mets are forced to fill their roster with younger players that have little Major League experience.

The big question that remains is whether or not these players are ready?

With David Wright and Ike Davis on the disabled list, the infield is left with only one opening day starter: Jose Reyes.

The rest of the diamond will be filled by Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada and Nick Evans rotating for the other three spots; the latter three started the season in AAA.

Daniel Murphy has proven throughout the season that he can be a valuable member of the team. He has shown strides defensively, and he has shown he can be an adequate hitter, especially compared to other second basemen.

His batting average of .248 and OPS of .704 might sound below par, but would rank 11th and 10th respectively among major league second basemen this season. However, if he were forced to take over first base for a longer duration, Murphy would most likely have to add some power.

Like Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner has performed well as a second basemen. However, the injury to Wright has shifted Turner to third base.

He has been a pleasant surprise for Terry Collins since he quickly gave up on Rule V pick Brad Emaus, and unlike Murphy, Turner is a natural second basemen. Unfortunately, like Murphy, his production is much more impressive as a middle infielder than at one of the corner spots.

Filling in for those two misplaced players will be Ruben Tejada. He is, by far, the best fielder of the group, but Mets fans will be very interested to see if his bat is major league ready. He started the season very hot for the AAA Buffalo Bison, hitting over .300 through May 6th but has since cooled off and is down to a batting average of .267.

However, Terry Collins has seen good things from Tejada, especially handling himself deep into counts. Hopefully, he can improve his hitting match his talent in the field.

Another edition to the 25-man roster, yesterday, was Nick Evans. Although he has not had as much success in the minors this year as he enjoyed in previous years, Evans can still crush lefties and should be given every opportunity to show he can help the major league team. He was a candidate to make the team this spring, but there were simply not enough spots.

With the injuries to the corner infielders, Terry Collins might give him enough of a chance to at least earn a bench spot when the team is at full strength. Scott Hairston and his .200 batting average certainly can be replaced.

The most important thing the Mets can do is to give these players an opportunity to play. I completely disagree with the lack of use of Fernando Martinez to this point. He is a young prospect who should be playing every day to improve.

There will be a gaping hole in right field for the Mets in 2012, and Martinez should be given a fair audition. If all the Mets needed was an extra bench player, they could have added another filler without stunting the growth of another prospect.

Similarly, Ruben Tejada has an opportunity looming on the major league squad. The rumors are swirling more every day that Jose Reyes will be traded at some point during this season. Even if Sandy Alderson decides to keep him though September, there is no guarantee that he will re-sign with the team.

That leaves an opening for a certain 21-year-old prospect that is getting another opportunity in the big leagues this week. Asking Tejada to become Reyes overnight wouldn’t be fair, but he should be able to hit better than last year.

These players represent the future of the New York Mets. Since many experts are predicting a fire sale, it will be up to the younger stars to fill in.

This (hopefully) short time period, where the key Mets players are on the DL, should provide a glimpse of whether or not they can be here to stay.