Mets' Valdespin Can Be Both Exciting And Excitable





NEW YORK—In the last two seasons alone, Jordany Valdespin has made his way through six levels of the Mets system, touching down everywhere from the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League to Double-A Binghamton, his residence as of mid-August.

Valdespin's six-level tour did not account for either his stay with the big league squad in spring training, when he caught the eye of manager Jerry Manuel, or his time in the Dominican League last winter.

The 22-year-old middle infielder has moved through two levels of the minor leagues this season, but Valdespin also made two stops on the sidelines, suspended for behavior infractions.

"He's a player who plays with a lot of passion, a lot of excitement," general manager Omar Minaya said. "And sometimes he lets that passion get the better of him."

The passion has led to quarrels with coaches and managers. Mets officials claim that the suspensions have been the product of hustle—running through a stop sign and arguing his case.

Signed out of the Dominican in 2007, Valdespin has primarily played second base in his minor league career. The Mets installed him to shortstop for a career-high 23 games this season with high Class A St. Lucie, where he hit .289/.323/.437 in 270 at-bats, collecting six homers and 13 stolen bases.

The lefty-hitting Valdespin started slowly in Double-A, but the Mets believe he has all the tools to quickly become a major leaguer.

The Mets hope to balance the passion with a smarter, more under control approach.

"I see him as a player who is fearless," Minaya said. "In spring training he faced some of the top pitchers in the game and he goes out there and swings aggressively.

"He's a good athlete, very talented and very skillful. He has a lot of tools. But you have to be able to take those tools and play under control. He needs to play under control."

METAMORPHOSES

• Triple-A Buffalo righthander Dillon Gee, who went 12-7, 4.77 through 24 starts, stood as the International League leader with 136 strikeouts after Durham's Jeremy Hellickson and Charlotte's Dan Hudson earned big league callups. Gee needed one more strikeout to match the Bisons modern era record set by Vicente Palacios in 1990.

• Rookie-level Gulf Coast League lefty Zach Dotson, a 13th-round pick in 2009 who signed for a well-above-slot $500,000, tested positive for Methylhexaneamine to earn a 50-game suspension. He went 0-1, 3.31 in four starts in the GCL, notching 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.