Opening Day is less than two weeks away, and Jose Reyes will be back on the field in Port St. Lucie tomorrow to resume baseball activities, so we all know we’ll be cheering Angel Pagan at the top of the order at Citi Field on April 5. What we don’t know is who we’ll be cheering at shortstop.
The likely answer to that query is veteran Alex Cora, but I’m starting to read more in support of giving 20-year-old Ruben Tejada a shot from the start. I can’t disagree with any of those points, particularly in that there’s no shame in failure. Give him a shot from the start, and if he’s in over his head after a week, 10 days, two weeks, send him down. Reyes could be back by then, or Cora could get a few starts until Reyes is ready.
Another reason I’m for it is the case of Elvis Andrus. Their minor league numbers are eerily similar, and though Andrus played four seasons on the farm to Tejada’s three (at this point), he was also signed a year younger, playing his first season at 16, while Tejada’s first season came at 17.
For a side-by-side comparison, I isolated their full seasons at high-Class A and Double-A and present them along with their minor-league totals.
|Rk (1 season)||52||213||184||29||54||7||1||3||21||8||4||23||32||.293||.380||.391||.772||72|
|A+ (1 season)||126||563||495||78||127||22||3||5||49||40||15||54||107||.257||.338||.343||.682||170|
|A (1 season)||111||478||437||67||116||25||4||3||50||23||15||36||91||.265||.324||.362||.685||158|
|AA (1 season)||118||535||482||82||142||19||2||4||65||54||16||38||91||.295||.350||.367||.717||177|
No one can be sure that Tejada will become the same Major Leaguer that Andrus has — Tejada doesn’t have the gaudy stolen-base totals in the minors, and he wouldn’t be given the job for the season — but there seem to be a lot of similarities between the two, leading me to believe there’s at least a hint of Tejada’s future when looking at Andrus. To me, that’s worth a look when the season opens if your starting shortstop won’t be there anyway.