The Mets activated Ronny Cedeno from the disabled list today and sent Elvin Ramirez back to Buffalo. If you’re playing at home, that means the Mets are short on relievers and very long on light-hitting middle infielders.
Including Daniel Murphy, the Mets have five guys who primarily play second base or shortstop on the active roster tonight. Of them, the best hitter this year (in a tiny sample) has been Omar Quintanilla, followed by Cedeno, Valdespin, Murphy and Turner.
Ramon Ramirez is set for a rehab outing in Triple-A tonight. Presumably if that goes well, he’ll join the club in short order and replace one of the multitudes of middle infielders. Another will likely go when Ruben Tejada gets back, as Tejada, too, is rehabbing in Buffalo.
There seems to be some clamor from Mets fans these days about starting Valdespin every day at second over Murphy based on Valdespin’s performance in his first 60 Major League plate appearances. If you’re making the case based on defense, that’s one thing. If you’re saying Valdespin’s a better hitter than Murphy, you’re wrong.
Say this out loud so you don’t forget it: Jordany Valdespin is not a better hitter than Daniel Murphy. Really emphasize every syllable: Jordany Valdespin is not a better hitter than Daniel Murphy. Now say it as slowly as you can, and let the sounds all wash around your mouth: Jordany Valdespin is not a better hitter than Daniel Murphy.
Valdespin has had a few big hits and flashed some power. He has a .250 on-base percentage. He has walked once in the Majors and only 34 times in 841 plate appearances, the type of aggressiveness likely to be exploited by Major League pitchers. His career Triple-A stats translate to a .242/.269/.343 Major League line in a neutral park. His best Minor League stretch — 404 at-bats in Double-A Binghamton in 2011 — translates to .232/.268/.361 rates.
Murphy, meanwhile, has nearly 1,500 plate appearances on his resume to show he’s a credible Major League hitter. He’s had a rough month and he doesn’t have a home run yet. I know those things. But he’s got a lifetime .288/.337/.421 line and he’s 27. If he’s healthy, he will hit.
Maybe Murphy’s hurt or got some awful case of the yips or something and will never hit like Daniel Murphy again, and maybe something suddenly clicks for Valdespin soon and he starts getting on base like a capable Major League position player should, but I would guess the chances of either happening soon are slim and the chances of both happening are minuscule.