Posted by Thomas Brennan at 10:00 AM
Hey, with me having PJ Conlon at # 11 and now TJ Rivera at # 9, I am seeing a pattern here, and I strongly recommend all Mets' prospects to add their first initial and a J...it seems to help underdogs rise to the top.
For instance, Justin Dunn should call himself JJ Dunn, or JJ Dunn the Hired Gun - he'd get to the majors quicker with that tag.
The undrafted TJ is being cast for the lead role in the next Underdog flick. Because he IS the Underdog. Many skeptics had he when starting 2016 - so what did he do?
Won AAA batting title, with .352, got called up in September and started a lot down the stretch drive, hitting .333 in 105 at bats. My recommendation is to add even more to his increased homer totals in 2017. 2016 in the majors and minors?
Wow...34 doubles, 14 homers, and 101 RBIs and a .347 combined aver with only 71 Ks in almost 600 minor and major league plate appearances.
And, of course, his total minor league stats impress:
2,648 plate appearances, 147 doubles, 35 homers, and (for an undrafted dude) a splendid .324 minor league career average. And just 332 strikeouts 91 every 8 PA).
Compare and contrast his nombres to the abysmal stats of so many Brooklyn DRAFTED hitters in 2016. Being drafted helps, but only until the plate appearances begin, when the playing field of those who are drafted and undrafted is leveled. Then, performance counts. And TJ has performed.
Full Disclosure: TJ is not perfect - he does not walk much (partly, I'm sure, because he does not swing and miss much) and is basically an adequate but versatile defensive player. Only 27 of 41 steals in the minors, telling me he is a not-swift, but intelligent runner. Versatile defensively as in 265 games at 2B, 147 at 3B, 34 at 1B, 139 at SS, and 9 in the OF in his minor league career.
Add some more power and maybe, just maybe, he can be the next Justin Turner or Jeff Keppinger.
Hopefully his days in the minors are over or almost over.
He can be a starter or valued, frequently used sub in the bigs.
So ends this synopsis of the Underdog.