It May Be Time for the Mets to Re-evaluate Their Youth Movement

June 17, 2009

Looking at the Mets starting lineup last night against the Baltimore Orioles, one can’t help but notice 20-year-old Fernando Martinez and 24-year-old Daniel Murphy batting second and seventh among a bevy of veteran Mets players. For Martinez, this is just his fourteenth start of the season after being called up on May 26th. So far, the young Mets outfielder’s stint in the big leagues hasn’t been all the glitz and glamour that perhaps he was expecting when he was given the opportunity to play in front of the New York faithful.

In 16 games, including last night’s 6-4 win over the Orioles, Martinez has just eleven hits in 56 at-bats which equates to a .196 batting average. Prior to being placed on the Mets roster, he produced eight home runs and a .291 BA at Buffalo, the Mets Triple-A affiliate. However, Martinez has yet to show off that power and is still waiting for his first career home run.

As the Mets continue to play in American League ballparks, they share the same advantage as their counterparts by having a designated hitter in their lineup. This allows Martinez to play the field and Gary Sheffield to rest his sore knee while he is acting as the Mets DH. Nonetheless, when the team heads home for a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitchers will be back in the lineup and most likely Sheffield will be taking Martinez’ spot in the outfield.

Daniel Murphy, on the other hand, has been with the Mets ball club since day one. After a strong start, Murphy’s offensive production has almost disappeared. Since May 29th, the Mets new first baseman has just five hits in his last 40 at-bats. In that span, Murphy’s batting average has gone from an okay .260 to a miserable .234 while scoring only one run.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has mentioned that young players would benefit most from playing everyday. Perhaps, he should consider his own advice and option these two young Mets players somewhere else so they can work on getting back on track.

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