Ernest Dove - The Curious Case of Mets Shortstop Prospect Wilfredo Tovar.


  Hey, its a new year.  But, hey, it's still only January, so we are still stuck in baseball offseason.  And, since we have enjoyed so much talking about shortstop, why not talk about the young man that nobody is talking about.  One Wilfredo Tovar.
  For the past couple of seasons, the Mets and their fans have struggled through Tejada hitting .200 and Wilmer apparently still being Wilmer the 'non' shortstop option at shortstop. And, with Mack's Mets favorite Matt Reynolds still being stuck in the drawer of team controlled-not 40 man needed-maybe next year land, along with Gavin 'don't call me a bust' Cecchini still not being old enough or ready enough to make that picture clear, we remain without any other options. So, the Mets have been linked to everybody under the sun who has every played the position in their career (yeah I read a quick blurb about Ben Zobrist too).
  Meanwhile, there apparently remains the forgotten, 23 year old 'prospect' in the Mets organization who has spent these same past couple of seasons locked onto the teams 40 man roster.  However, since 2012, we seemingly have no idea what is going on with Mr. Tovar. I used his random photo of the young man mainly because that's exactly where he's pretty much been since 2012...... Binghamton.
  He's had a couple September call ups the past two years (yeah, again, dude's been on the 40 man roster this whole time).  Can't really tell much from 22 plate appearances, unless you consider only 3 Ks to be a cool side-note or something.
  Otherwise, he's pretty much the guy toiling his craft down in the AA ball level.  He's seemingly been passed over for two years while the Mets see what they have in Matt Reynolds, and also try to reinvent good old Wilmer back into the position in both the AAA and eventually the major league level.
  Then, as we entered into the 2014 offseason, all we could talk about was shortstop, especially after the Cuddyer signing and the bring'em-all-in approach to lefty reliever competition. Yet, somewhere along the way, Wilmer remained on the team, with random nonchalant quotes from front office about basically not seeing it as a total disaster with him giving it a shot again. And, the Mets apparently showed complete willingness to hold onto Tejada, despite all the (minor) drama for 2 years about work ethic, strive for greatness, etc. etc. in his approach to the game.
  Sooooooo uhhhhhh what's up with Wilfredo?  He's pretty much coming off his best statistical season of his minor league career (which was shortened due to injuries). His BA, OBP, SLG and OPS were all higher then his career averages in his overall 6 year minor league career. However, again, we are talking about a young man who keeps playing at the same AA level, so we can obviously argue that it helped.
  So, throwing out those numbers, what do we have?  An above average defensive SHORTSTOP who doesn't strike a lot, is young, and isn't eligible for free agency until the next decade.  Yet, here we are in January 2015 still ending up at this point scraping the bottom of the barrel in the free agency and trade market (and even a recent DFA Dodgers shortstop whose known for being all glove, no bat and owed like $20mil anyway).
  Am I missing something?  I'm no talent evaluator.  I know pretty much nothing about Tovar. Never seen em take an at bat other then in random September games when I'm already angry about another losing season and not paying him enough attention. But yet he remains on the 40 man roster.  Sure, organizations need players at every position, blah blah blah.  But we are talking about an organization that filled its minor league rosters with guys as old as 32 years old at their AA level teams last year, so there should be no fear of needing Tovar at any team on any of the lower level rosters.
  As we enter into 2015, I believe its finally come to where we can't keep shoving Wilmer back in AAA, so at this point the only shortstop who would take away at bats from Tovar in Vegas isssssss wait for it........ good old Matt Reynolds, whom the Mets can simply leave there until September, get a looksy, and then figure out if they want him on the 40 man then. 
  So, what to do with Mr. Wilfredo Tovar?  I assume he will certainly not embarrass himself in the field if put there on the Mets come April 2015.  But the organization seems content to go with Wilmer and Tejada.  Or field offers in which they would probably end up shifting Wilmer around, or maybe just maybe finally giving Tejada is walking papers (I actually like Tejada, but the organization has taken their stand with him by letting out these strange public remarks about work ethic, etc).
  What happens now?  He's still only 23 years old, so I assume they can shove him back at AA ball, where he can man short, or I guess play some more 2B if that Cecchini kid gets his chance at the make or break level.  But, all in all, something should be done here. I mean, we've got Mets brass, writers, bloggers and fans clamoring for old, unproven, becoming washed up, and/or coming off injury type guys to fill a position in which the player in said position could easily (and stereotypically) bat 8th anyway.
  Well here we go, let's try and light up the comment score board for me with this one.  What the heck are we doing here?


Reese Kaplan said...

I'd be all for bundling Ruben Tejada in a package for another lefty reliever and letting Tovar be the backup SS to Flores (or late inning defensive replacement). He is a superior glove, can't be any worse with the bat and will also serve as an occasional pinch runner (something Honus Tejada cannot do on his best day).

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, Tovar would also be less expensive than Tejada by what, $1.5MM to $2MM? Definitely worth considering trading the Ruben sandwich.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Check out Tovar's contact rate. It's ridiculous. Career minor league strikeout/10AB ratio.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Tovar numerous times. His glove is not just above average. It is special. And he knows what he is doing with the bat. Love this post because I have been thinking along the same lines all offseason. Give Tovar a chance!

Mack's Mets © 2012