Q&A: – Reese Havens

Frankie asks: – Morning, Mack. I know you are a big fan of Reese Havens. Do you really think he will be a star second baseman in the majors someday?

Yes, I am a big fan of Havens, but I wasn’t happy when the pick went down. I thought there were better names left up on the board (FYI: Keith Law loved the pick and Kevin Goldstein “kinda liked it”).

No one has ever loved his foot speed and he’s not expected to win any Gold Gloves either, but his bat could make him the top hitting second baseman in baseball some day… if he stays healthy.

Havens has been nagged with injuries his entire young professional career. He only DH’d his first season… suffered a quadricep injury in 2009, and was taken out in 2010 with an oblique strain which was the result of a bush take out on a double play. He tried to return on June 12, 2010, but didn’t finish his first game back. The Mets IR’d him for the rest of the season.

Toby Hyde pointed out last year that Havens has only played in 47% of the games played by the teams he has played for so far in his Mets career. F-Mart may have better numbers than this.

Word from mini-camp last week is he’s been cleared to play and looked great taking grounders, but the real problem here may be his back. There’s a reason the word “chronic” always precedes back problems. They just don’t go away. Surgery cured me of my back pain, but it took away any opportunity to play competitive sports again.

Baseball players never complain about their backs. If they do, they get taken out of the lineup. So, many back injuries remain unreported, allowing for said back problems to increase.

Go ask Shawn Bowman. He was the original David Wright back in 2002 and hit 19 home runs for the Capital City Bombers in 2004. Then the back problems began. No matter what he did, he simply couldn’t stay in the lineup. Two surgeries later, he never was considered by the Mets as a future big-leaguer, and other teams were reluctant in trading for him. The Mets cut him before the 2010 season.

The jury is still out for Havens, but I stand by my statement that he is easily the most talented second baseman in the system, and could someday develop into being a Dan Uggla-type addition to Queens. It’s his health that will determine his future as a Met.

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