Ruben Tejada the Next NewYork Superstar? Written by Tim HorodyskiEditor's Note: This is Tim Horodyski's first article with Mets Fever, it's the one of three articles as a guest writer and based on what we've read we hope he decides to join us permanently.
Photo by Michael Baron When does a young ballplayer turn from an upand coming prospect to an established major league talent? Theanswer various base on the player. Has Ruben Tejada shaken off the labelof prospect? The answer is yes, Tejada has become a major leaguetalent. The Panama born Tejada has done it in a very unusual way.Ruben Tejada was not the ideal prospect. He was signed by the Mets at age 17. He was thrust into the major leaguesat age 20. Tejada isn’t known for his control of the strike zone, norwill he ever be a power hitter. He doesn’t bring the energy of Jose Reyesor the flashiness of Texas Rangers shortstop, Elvis Andrews. The thing hebrings to the table is a sense of calmness and confidence that many youngplayers do not posses. The future superstar has progressed well at the majorleague level.In two major league seasons Tejada had rackedup 544 at bats. In those at bats he is hitting .256 with an on basepercentage (OBP) of .338. He has one home run and 53 runs batted in(RBI). Those numbers do not jump off the page and yell out superstar;however you must look deeper at his body of work.In 2010 he posted a dismal .213 batting average and an OBP of .305 in 255 plate appearances;which lead fans to think he was a fringe player that would never fully developinto a major league star. After being sent down to the minor leagues hecontinued to work hard. He continued to get stronger physically andmentally. Tejada has always had great baseball instincts; which isone of the reasons why the Mets have rushed his development. He workedhard on his offense, working to have more quality at bats. His recent abilityto make contact and hit line drives is a sign that his bat speed has improvedalong with his ability to read pitches. This makes him a much better offensivechoice for the Mets.One of Ruben’s best attributes is hisglove. Tejada has smoothness to his defensive game that few young playersdisplay and has the arm strength to turn the double play. In 2011 he wasbrought back to the major league level because of injuries on the Metsroster. He played second base when Daniel Murphy tore his MCL. Tejada later played his natural position of shortstop when Jose Reyes went onthe disable list.The then 21 year old Tejada made the most ofhis playing time in 96 games and 328 at bats he posted a .284 average and a.360 OBP. The last half of the season Tejada batted .299 with a .361 OBP, 11extra base hits, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored in 160 plate appearances spanning 40games. This should make Mets fans happy. He has impressed the Metscoaching staff, particularly his manager, Terry Collins. Mets fans willindeed be looking forward to watching Tejada having an outstanding career inFlushing. There is no doubt that Tejada will be making the Mets 50thyear anniversary season very fun to watch.Whether playing second base or shortstopTejada will be a fixture in the Mets infield for years to come. To learnmore about Ruben Tejada or the New York Mets please visit the Mets online atwww.mets.com or www.losmets.com. To learn more about the Mets 50thyear anniversary celebration plans please visit www.Mets50.comNote from the author.My name is Tim Horodyski and I live in NewYork with my wife of four years. I have been a lifelong fan of the gameof baseball. I root for the New York Mets. Baseball has a deepmeaning for me. One of my earliest childhood memories is going to OpeningDay 1987 at Shea Stadium with my father. That was the day the Metsreceived their World Series rings. Darryl Strawberry hit a three run homerun to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2. So it is a great honor to becoving the Mets for their 50th year anniversary, so let’s hope theAmazing Mets have a great season. Let’s Go Mets!!!