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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Spinsanity was briefly the talk of the Mets in 2012. Jordany Valdespin displayed charisma and hit some clutch home runs, but he struggled as the season progressed.
In his rookie season, the 25-year-old batted just .241 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 94 games, posting a dismal .286 on-base percentage.
So was Spinsanity merely a flash in the pan?
Mets manager Terry Collins doesn’t think so. On the contrary, he believes that the confident young player could turn some heads in his sophomore season.
The skipper even went as far as to say that as of now, Valdespin is the leading candidate to hit in the leadoff spot for the Amazin’s come Opening Day.
“Right now, the way Valdespin has been swinging the bat in that spot, we’re leaning towards him,” Collins told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Wednesday. “As of right now, that’s what we’re looking at.”
Collins maintains that the left-handed hitter came to camp this spring a new man with a new approach. The proof is in the numbers, as Valdespin has dominated at the plate this spring. In 14 games, the 6-foot-0, 190-pounder is hitting .341 with four home runs, eight RBIs and a walk. He’s only struck out twice and has posted a .386 on-base percentage. He also has a slugging percentage of .634 and an OPS of 1.021.
“He’s really worked at the pitch selection,” Collins said. “He’s got a nice idea at the plate, he makes pitchers work. He can bunt for a hit and he can hit a homer. He’s not getting very many easy, first-pitch fastballs.”
Valdespin is also very versatile, which is especially key considering the injuries that the Mets have endured this spring. Both David Wright and Daniel Murphy could very well miss Opening Day, leaving holes at third base and second base, respectively. Valdespin, whose natural position is left field, can play third base, shortstop, second base and every outfield position.
He is also a threat to take the starting left-field job from Lucas Duda if he continues to produce, Collins admitted.
In 2012, Valdespin played 28 games at second base, six games at shortstop, 27 games in center field and 23 games in right field.
Valdespin’s development hasn’t solely been on the field, though. The skipper acknowledged that he’s also seen some newfound maturity from the utility player in Port St. Lucie.
“His whole demeanor has been a great surprise,” Collins said. “I just think that, probably, there was some place along the line — maybe at the end of last year — where I know David (Wright) had a conversation one day in Washington after the guys cut up his shirt and he got upset. I know David took him out and kind of settled him down, and maybe he’s grown up a bit, because he’s certainly been impressive down here.”
Would you like to see Valdespin hit leadoff for the Mets? Is that where he’s best suited in the lineup? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…