A fascinating dynamic I see playing out among many Mets fans and observers is the idea that Brad Emaus and Daniel Murphy are little more than stand-ins for the inevitable moment when Reese Havens becomes the second baseman for the New York Mets. Emaus and Murphy are the cardboard cutout of Alec Baldwin in that incessant Capital One ad: Havens is actual Alec Baldwin.
The problem with this idea is a simple one: Havens’ health. The assumption seems to be that as soon as Havens is healthy, the job is his. And that may well be true. But let’s even assume that Havens, who has played 18 games above single-A, is a major league hitter right now. How does that leave the three players in the second base derby, in terms of what they need to claim the second base job long-term?
- Reese Havens, assuming he gets healthy, can be a regular major league second baseman.
- Brad Emaus, assuming he can maintain his plate discipline and some of his power from Triple-A, can be a regular major league second baseman.
- Daniel Murphy, assuming he can become an adequate fielder, can be a regular major league second baseman.
In other words: Murphy will need to add a skill he’s yet to display, but has yet to attempt to display over a full season. So assuming it will happen is premature, but there’s also little reason to assume it won’t. Emaus has already displayed the skills required of him at the highest minor league level- in a strong hitting atmosphere, yes, but he’s displayed those skills. And John Sickels, who is to prospect information what a Reese’s Fastbreak is to nougat, likes his chances of converting that performance into reasonable production this year for the Mets. As for Havens? He hasn’t stayed healthy since he turned pro, and presumably has tried to add that skill every season of his career.
So why is it that Havens is the assumed one to put it all together? He’s worth hoping for, given his tremendous potential, but he strikes me as the worst bet among the three to add the missing ingredient to become a regular second baseman for the Mets.