Valdespin Wins Over Mets With Mature Approach





NEW YORK—No one ever questioned Jordany Valdespin's physical tools. Until this season, however, those tools had been obscured by a troublesome streak of revolt.

Valdespin's immaturity frustrated Mets officials and was enough of an issue that Carlos Beltran took the 23-year-old middle infielder under his wing in spring training this year. Beltran sat down with Valdespin nearly every day and told him that the opportunity will not always be there, that an attitude problem could ruin his chances as much as an injury or a failure to perform.

"If you are a problem, there is always someone else who can pass you by," Beltran said. "You have your opportunity and it might be your only one."

To his credit, Valdespin has begun to show signs that he wants to take advantage of his opportunity. Beltran's tutelage, a trip to big league spring training and the hard-edged lessons imparted by Double-A Binghamton manager Wally Backman have opened his eyes.

New York bumped Valdespin to Triple-A Buffalo in early August, a promotion that team officials said is an affirmation that some of the maturity issues have been resolved.

The lefty-hitting Valdespin earned the promotion with his play on the field, too. For Binghamton he played shortstop most every day (after playing primarily second base in the past), made the Eastern League all-star team and batted .297/.341/.483 with 15 homers and 33 steals in 404 at-bats.

"I think he's had a very well-rounded, solid season on the field," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "We saw him in spring training, saw the potential and the talent that was there.

"He's had the type of year that we wanted him to have. He's stayed healthy, (while) continuing to show all the things that he's shown (in the past). He's got good pop. He moves well defensively. On a team that didn't have a great year he was one of the bright spots. Every time you'd look up he had a couple hits."

The Mets project Valdespin as a second baseman, a position where there figures to be big league opportunity as soon as next season.

METAMORPHOSES

• High Class A St. Lucie righthander Darin Gorski went 11-1, 2.27 through his first 24 appearances, notching 125 strikeouts in 123 innings. He led the Florida State League in ERA and WHIP (1.03), and he had given up one run or fewer in 11 of 18 starts.

• Though 2010 first-round righthander Matt Harvey had run up a 5.04 ERA through his first nine starts for Binghamton, he had a healthy strikeout rate (54 in 45 innings) and had improved in August, going 3-0, 3.60 in three starts.