There will be an open competition in 2011 for the starting second baseman on the Mets. Incumbent, Luis Castillo, well into the twilight of his career is forced to attempt to fend off the likes of Daniel Murphy, Brad Eamus and Justin Turner or face being cut from the team. I’m going to look at the players and evaluate who has the best shot at winning and why.
Luis Castillo, 35
Luis Antonio Castillo Donato graduated from Colegio San Benito Abad in the Dominican Republic in 1991...Named the Marlins' Most Valuable Player by the South Florida Chapter of the BBWAA in 1999 and again in 2002.
For all of his faults Luis Castillo does a few things very well. He takes a walk with the best of them and can advance a runner like nobody’s business. At this point in his career he just doesn’t do much else. Luis never had power. However at one point he WAS a prolific base stealer and defensive star. That best of times was 11 years ago and all but a distant memory for all of us. Although… if I look back to 2009 and stop myself from seeing the epic “Dropped Ball” I see numbers that I’d be happy with from a second baseman. So… if healthy… I have to say that he still has a legit shot.
Daniel Murphy, 26
Daniel T. Murphy graduated from Englewood High School (FL) in 2003...Hit .395 during his senior year...Earned All-Gateway honors as a senior, junior and sophomore in high school...Also was a four-year letter winner for the Englewood Swim Team...Named the 2006 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and was named First Team All-Conference after finishing second in the A-Sun with a .398 batting average and 55 RBI while playing for Jacksonville University...During his sophomore season, he hit .410 during conference play to lead the Dolphins...Finished his freshman season (2004) with a .377 average to lead the team.
Murphy would have auditioned for the Mets in 2010 to become the new 2B if not for the Nationals minor leaguers playing dirty. What do we know about Murphy? He can hit the ball but doesn’t have 1B power. He CANNOT play LF. He can play first pretty well but is a little too impatient. He’s played some 2B now in the winter leagues and hasn’t butchered the position. I feel like he is the odds on favorite to win the nod this spring.
Brad Emaus, 25
Bradley Mark Emaus... Single... His father, Mark, played baseball at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University... Majored in media arts at Tulane University... A four-year letterman at East Coweta... Helped guide the Indians to a combined 92-25 record in four years, with four playoff appearances and a state runner-up finish as a junior... Named a Street & Smith All-American in 2004, was drafted in the 18th round by the Atlanta Braves... Named team MVP, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner as a senior after hitting .509 with eight homers, 60 RBI and 40 stolen bases... As a junior, named Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Newman Times Herald Player of the Year and earned a spot on the AFLAC All-America team after hitting .490 with 14 homers and a 1.100 slugging percentage... Claimed a pair of gold medals with the AAU Junior Olympics and was named MVP of the CABA World Series... off the diamond, was a member of the National Honor Society.
Chances that Brad makes the team are VERY good. Brad has the Alderson approach to hitting (OBP) and was a Rule 5 pick and needs to stay with the MLB club to stay on the team. He’s a righty so even if Murphy wins the job, he’s likely to win the job as the back-up. Emaus has been described as no defensive whiz. He’s a smart hitter, a smart base runner, a smart fielder and a MLB ready player. Emaus will make the team unless Turner astounds or he is not any good.
Justin Turner, 26
Graduated from Mayfair High School...Played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton.
Justin Turner was good in the minors last year but was he good enough to beat the others. Turner has the toughest road to the team. He can be sent to AAA while Emaus cannot. He’s not a lefty while Murphy is. He’s not owed 6 Million dollars like Castillo. Turner has to flat out win the position this spring which I won’t put entirely past him. If he misses the starting job Emaus/Murphy probably have the lock on backing up the starter but that doesn’t 100% rule Justin Turner out. Chin-Lung Hu has to watch out, because though he doesn’t field it well, Turner DOES field SS and could be a different sort of back-up.
This is Phlavio Phega and, if it relates to the Mets, I have an opinion.