- Full name Rubén Dario Tejada
- Born 10/27/1989 in Veraguas, Panama
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 04/07/2010
Organization Prospect Rankings
One of several international players whom New York has promoted aggressively, Tejada set career highs in most offensive categories last season while playing as 19-year-old in Double-A. A sparkplug who can play either middle-infield position, he started the year by representing Panama in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets considered calling him up when injuries decimated their middle infield, but decided against it because they didn't want to tie up a 40-man roster spot. Tejada is an above-average defender with the arm strength to make plays from the hole at shortstop. He has slightly above-average speed and the potential to steal 20-25 bases a season. He makes good contact at the plate and could grow into gap power as he matures physically. Tejada's bat may prevent him from becoming an everyday player. Even when he gets stronger, power won't be a major part of his game, and he'll need to do a better job of drawing walks. At shortstop, he can improve his ability to go to his right and make backhand plays. Tejada figures to open 2010 in Triple-A, with the potential for a callup if injuries strike the Mets again. With Jose Reyes entrenched at shortstop, Tejada and Reese Havens figure to battle to become New York's second baseman of the future.
Signed out of Panama, Tejada was moved from the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League to the Gulf Coast League midway through the 2007 season. That served as a springboard to Tejada producing a hitting exhibition in the 2008 Grapefruit League while being borrowed from minor league camp. Put on the fast track with a twolevel promotion to high Class A, Tejada was overmatched at age 18 but handled the challenge. Team officials had Tejada on an extensive weight-training program during the season to build up his strength, which resulted in fatigue later in the year. Despite that, the Mets continued challenging him in Hawaii Winter Baseball, where he impressed more with his grinder mentality than his tools. Tejada has calmness about him and has appeared unfazed by the lack of success. Tejada may hit 10 home runs a season once his skinny frame matures. Hitting line drives, producing a high on-base percentage and using his legs likely will be the keys to his game. He tends to swing for the fences more than he should and needs to focus on making hard, line-drive contact. Solid defensively with a strong arm and excellent lateral range, he's shown the ability to make the spectacular play. Tejada will remain at shortstop for now, though he has experience at second base and ultimately may land there. He's an average baserunner and basestealer, though sound instincts will allow him to swipe some bases. Mets officials laud his heady play and his advanced knowledge of the strike zone. Scouts outside the organization believe he needs another year in high Class A to catch up.
Tejada is the Mets' top signee from Panama, a nation the organization considers a growth area in terms of prospects. He began his pro career last year in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League, where he batted .364 to earn a callup to the Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old. Tejada was the best player in a talented infield that included fourth-round pick Richard Lucas at third base and polished Australian hitter Stefan Welch at first. Tejada's best present tools are on the defensive side, as he has above-average arm strength and range that allow him to make all the plays at shortstop. In his time at second base, he showed an aptitude for turning double plays. He's an above-average runner and has an advanced approach at the plate, as he walked more than he struck out. Tejada also has some strength and gap-to-gap power, and while he doesn't project to hit for more than fringe-average power, he's not a slap hitter either. Tejada's best quality could be his savvy, as he's mature and showed a grinder mentality. He may have pushed his way to a full-season assignment for 2008, pending his spring performance.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the New York Mets in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the New York Mets in 2009
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the New York Mets in 2008
- Panama activated SS Rubén Tejada.
- Panama activated SS Rubén Tejada.