Scouting Report: UT Chase Lambin

Lambin Relishes The Utility Role

The New York Mets drafted second baseman Chase Lambin in the 34th round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Since that time, Lambin has become one of the more versatile hitters and fielders in the Mets' farm system. Here's a scouting report on Chase Lambin.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Chase Lambin
Position: Utility Player
DOB: July 7, 1979
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Bringing what he called an "improved mindset" to the table, Chase Lambin ripped through his second stint of the Eastern League last year, batting .331 with 14 home runs in 53 games to earn a promotion to Triple-A.

Lambin had no trouble adjusting to the International League either, batting .289 and even slugging a milestone three-homer game on July 15 at Syracuse.

"It's all about positive thoughts," Lambin said. "[I was] not trying think too much and letting my abilities come through instead of trying to overanalyze things. It's been a steady progression, and I think it's one of my strengths."

The mental game aside, Lambin – a 34th round pick in the June 2002 draft out of the University of Louisiana – has beaten the odds to get to this point.

Originally a second baseman, Lambin wasn't even ranked in the Top 50 prospects at this time last year, but has raised his value and opened some eyes through grit and dedication.

He erased any questions about sometimes-shaky defense – Lambin committed 24 errors at second base in 2004 for Binghamton – by grinding through a stint in the Instructional Leagues, where he revisited shortstop while also adding first base and third base to his repertoire.

"I hope I opened some eyes," Lambin said. "I like the fact that I'm a utility guy and I can play other positions. That's helpful for a manager to be able to put me anywhere and feel comfortable putting me in there."

Sent to the Arizona Fall League for a second time to add more tools, Lambin even found himself getting down and dirty behind the plate, trying to learn the basics of catching … just in case. Such is life for a budding 25th man hopeful.

"You get beat up pretty good back there," Lambin said. "I'm looking at it as just one more tool to get to the big leagues."

Lambin played a small amount of left field for Binghamton and Norfolk in 2005, further enhancing his value as a jack-of-all-trades player.

The transition has not been uncommon for players in the Mets' system – it seems every year, spurned on by the success of former Met Joe McEwing, several prospects make the effort to broaden their tools and accelerate their progress to the majors.

"They look at Joe McEwing and say, 'I can be Joe McEwing," said Scott Lauber, who covered the B-Mets for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.

"I think Chase Lambin can be. He could be a Marlon Anderson or a Joe McEwing, who comes in off the bench and will go play anywhere you want him to play. He's got the makings of a very valuable player."

After logging 61 games at Triple-A last season, slugging 10 homers and driving in 34 runs in 211 at-bats, Lambin senses the major leagues are getting closer, feeling as though the Mets will give him a chance to impress them this spring.

Indeed, his ticket to Shea Stadium appears as though it could be punched in 2006 – quite a turnaround for a player who, just two years prior, lost his starting job to Jeff Keppinger at Double-A.

"I see myself as a utility guy getting to the big leagues, because that's an easy way to get there," Lambin said. "Every team needs one [utility player] and I feel like I could really be that guy."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2005

Norfolk

.289

211

61

10

34

35

2

20

47

.350

.526

2005

Binghamton

.331

181

60

14

29

26

2

20

38

.396

.657

2004

Binghamton

.244

410

100

10

64

64

4

48

103

.331

.390

2003

St. Lucie

.289

401

116

5

49

58

13

46

81

.366

.404

2002

Brooklyn

.279

179

50

6

27

25

5

8

50

.316

.447



Batting and Power. Chase Lambin is a solid gap hitter that has developed his power game over the last two seasons. A switch-hitter, Lambin generates a lot more power from the left side of the plate. 22 of his 24 home runs in 2005 came while batting left-handed. In fact, he boasted a 53% extra-base hit percentage from the left side, which puts him in elite company among all baseball prospects. Lambin is very good at fighting off pitches and turning on the pitches he wants to hit instead of swinging at the balls that opposing pitchers want him to hit. He's not the .331 hitter he showed in his time with Binghamton this past season, but more like the .289 hitter he proved to be with the Norfolk Tides later in the year.

Base Running and Speed. Lambin is not a gifted athlete who will burn opposing teams on the base paths. But just like his good friend David Wright, Lambin more than makes up for his lack of natural speed with good baseball instincts and all out hustle on the field. He's an intelligent base runner that picks his spots and won't cost his team with silly base running mistakes.

Defense. Lambin, who came up through the ranks as a middle infielder, is not an elite defensive player at any one position. But what he lacks in overall defensive ability he makes up in with his versatility on the baseball diamond. He doesn't have the greatest range in the field but he does boast a solid arm and he does make the routine plays. He played second base, third base, shortstop, and the outfield in 2005 and he even practiced at catcher in the Arizona Fall League.

Projection. Chase Lambin was seemingly born to be a utility player at the Major League level. His defense is suspect enough to keep him from becoming an everyday player at one position, but his versatility, leadership on the field and in the clubhouse, and all out hustle makes him an invaluable asset on the bench. Lambin is one of the guys that is easy to root for and he could become a fan favorite at Shea Stadium because of his winning attitude. He projects to be a Joe McEwing type for the Mets someday with a more potent bat.

ETA. 2006. Lambin should get an opportunity to break Spring Training with the Mets next season as a reserve infielder and pinch-hitter after Marlon Anderson left for the Washington Nationals. If he doesn't, he'll be sent down to AAA-Norfolk to gain some more experience but should be one of the first call-ups to Shea when the Mets need another infielder should injuries arise. Even if he is on the Queens-Norfolk shuttle, Lambin should have an impact with the Mets in 2006.

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