The fans’ fascination with Jordany Valdespin

Over the past two years there have been a number of moments that will stick with Mets’ fans forever. One of those moments was the first career hit for Jordany Valdespin, a pinch-hit go ahead 3-run home run off of Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon last year. He instantly became fan favorite with Mets fans; as he went on to have a number of unforgettable at-bats as a pinch hitter.

The year 2013 rolled around and during spring training Valdespin was viewed as a viable option to win a starting job, either in center or right field. His path to becoming the starter was put to an end after the emergence of both Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd as options to start in the outfield.

Valdespin was once again placed back in the pinch hitter, 4th outfield and utility infield roles. But as any fan would notice, Valdespin’s ego does not match that of a bench or role player. He has the flare for the dramatic, plays the game how he plays it and does not care what the opposition thinks. Valdespin has been compared to Jose Reyes in terms of his antics on the field, and the comparison is valid.

Where it seems to fall apart is, while Reyes played for the Mets, he backed up his play with his numbers. Valdespin has yet to do that during his tenor with the Mets. During the current season, Valdespin is sporting a .214/.290/.369 line. Yet fans will continue to call him to play because he is exciting and fun to watch. And yes while that is all true, what the Mets are concerned about is winning ballgames not putting on a show.

His antics are only warranted if he plays well and can help the team win games. Celebrating up the first base line after he hit a home run while down more than five runs isn’t what a manager would call “helping the team”.

The problem is if his antics don’t match up with his level of play, he will have a short career here in Flushing. If he can turn into a .270 hitter with 10-15 home runs and drive in around 60-70 runs and have that clutch gene he has shown, he will have a nice career and help the Mets greatly.

To this point, that hasn’t been seen. Valdespin has never had a huge, long stretch where he has had sustained success on the offensive level. Adding to that, Valdespin is a below-average defenseman at best in the outfield. The addition of Rick Ankiel as a defensive option reflects the lack of faith in Valdespin as a viable defender.

While fans continue to scream for him to be played every day, Valdespin has yet to give Terry Collins a reason to play him. If in the limited time he plays, he proves to Terry Collins that he has the talent to be an everyday player than Valdespin will find himself in the lineup. Until then, the growing fascination with Valdespin will have to stick to Twitter.

12 comments for “The fans’ fascination with Jordany Valdespin

  1. Jerry Grote
    May 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm


  2. za
    May 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    The guy needs to play regularly, most likely at AAA. He’s improved certain facets of his game but needs to play more. He started the game late and has as much raw talent as anyone we’ve got.

  3. Metsense
    May 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    JV1 is a utility player who is athletic but doesn’t play average defense. He has speed and power and versatilty but could only ceiling out as an average offensive starter at best. If JV1 wants to stay in the majors, he needs to work really hard at his infield drills. He was a minor league SS and it is hard to believe he isn’t better than Turner defensively at SS. As a LH backup SS he would increase his value on the Mets. JV1 needs to go to work on this as it is a best wat to stay a major leaguer.This fan isn’t screaming for him to play everyday, in fact, this fan would consider swapping him with Kirk who has gotten hot.

  4. Jerry Grote
    May 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    … not to be repetitive, but agreed once again. You can swallow a 740 OPS with some athleticism and SBs a whole lot better at SS than at nearly any other position.

  5. Chris F
    May 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    The funny thing this isnt just about fans…Keith has clearly stated JV needs to play as I believe Ronnie has too.

    I think your analysis is spot on Metsense. I think a lot of folks mistake the histrionics for accomplishment and promise of a thing that isnt there. He’d surely be better off requesting to go to AAA and take up SS full time. Riding the pine and occasionally PH will never get him more than what he has now, which aint much.

  6. steevy
    May 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    It’s not about “fascination”,it’s about getting the best players on the field.Why not try him at SS?It’s not like Ruben is tearing it up on either side of he ball,quite the contrary.Can he be much worse than a 35 year old journeyman in the OF?On this team,as constituted,he should be playing regularly somewhere.

    • Chris Schubert
      May 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Why? The guy is hitting .214 on the year. Ruben, while having his struggles has a better ceiling at SS than Valdespin. If Tejada gets sent down then yes, you could try him there. But Valdespin hasn’t done anything to make Terry think he’s a better option than Ruben.

      • Jerry Grote
        May 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm

        Where in God’s good green earth do you get a better ceiling for Tejada than for JV?

        In almost 500 ABs in AAA, RT’s a 660 guy. In an additional 1200 ABs in the majors, he’s a 640 guy. I think we know what Tejada can do now.

        Most of JV’s work is around 40-80 points better … and he’s still got a little youth on his side.

        No … there’s no justification for saying Tejada has more “ceiling”.

        • Chris Schubert
          May 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm

          I think as a complete package Tejada is better than Valdespin. While he has had his struggles this year, Tejada is better defensively IMO. I don’t think either are the SS of the future, but if I had to pick I’d rather have Tejada. He can work an-bat much better than Valdespin can. Jordany strikes out way too much for my liking.

          • Manny Esteves
            May 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

            Have to disagree that Tejada has a “higher ceiling” than JV1. Valdespin has speed and pop and I think that part of the reason he isn’t started as frequently is due to his success off of the bench. Tejada is mediocre at best. Too slow to bat leadoff, not enough power to hit anywhere else. Sure he batted around .300 last year, but the majority are singles and as evident by the Subway Series game on Tuesday, base running isn’t necessarily his forte. I used to think he was an adequate fielder, but his lack of effort charging balls and making throws has been disgusting lately. In regards to the antics, yes he will have to back it up. However the excitement he generates can make him a lightning rod, and I feel like he’s just a mentor away from being able to be a mini-reyes almost. If someone taught him to take extra BP, hit to opposite field, work a walk here and there I see a leadoff guy who could easily swipe 20. Finally, in regards to not giving Terry a reason to start him, in only 84 at bats JV1 is 2nd on the Mets in steals, 6th in RBI’s (2nd for outfielders and middle infielders), and has more hits than Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter, and Rick Ankiel(as a Met) combined. I think that merits some innings.

            Sorry for the lengthy post.

        • May 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm

          I have no clue what’s happened with Tejada lately, but the old RT proved he could play a good defense, work a pitcher and steal a bag or two. He’s no Jose Reyes but his fundies were solid. Spin hasn’t hit for an average, does not play good defense and has little self-discipline (both playing and showboating). If you could combine the two, the result would probably be an All-Star SS.

          Unless Valdespin wows me, I’m sticking with Tejada until he squares himself away or we pick up somebody else’s scraps on the waiver wire.

      • Metsense
        May 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        JV1 as a regular SS, that is not what I said. As a backup SS in order to stay in the ML’s. Is his life saver.JV1 has utility plastered all over his forehead.

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