Tejada Continues to Learn

Ruben Tejada has held his own in Double-A

BINGHAMTON, NY - Not often does an organization have a teenager manning its shortstop position in Double-A, but the Binghamton Mets have just that in Ruben Tejada. Though overpowered more often than not in A-ball last season, Tejada is looking more comfortable by the month and that is due to his constant desire to learn and improve his game.

Ruben Tejada is still growing into the Double-A level.

The 19-year-old shortstop has had an up-and-down year at the plate and in the field, but has still shown signs of potential.

"I think I'm getting better," Tejada said through an interpreter. "It's a big learning process for me and I feel like things are going well because I'm learning a lot."

Tejada began 2009—his third professional season—with Binghamton and struggled out of the gate, hitting just .222 for the month of April with no homeruns and only nine RBI.

"This year has been a big step up from last year," he said.

Tejada would turn his slow start around by reaching base in 20 consecutive games and posting a .309 batting average for the month of May.

"I've been feeling better at the plate this year because I've been able to (get) more at bats," he said.

Tejada began the year with Binghamton after struggling through a tough 2008 season at St. Lucie, where he hit just .229 with 25 extra-base hits in 131 games.

"Last year I learned how to play more relaxed," Tejada said. "I learned how to play through my mistakes."

"For his age he is very mature and confident," said Binghamton hitting coach Luis Natera. "He just needs to get stronger."

Tejada would follow his hot May with a solid June in which he hit .287 and struggled to begin July as he did not drive in a run through the first 11 games, but has picked it up over the last two games wit seven hits and five RBI.

"You can see that his body is really young and playing every day, every inning, and every pitch—he's going to get tired," Natera said. Tejada has played in 87 of the team's 89 games this year.

"We're just working on staying on top of the ball, timing and rhythm," Natera said. "Sometimes he's off-balance because his timing is off."

Tejada also wants to focus on hitting the ball to all fields, but realizes that it is a learning process.

"He's a young kid with a bright future ahead of him," said Binghamton manager Mako Oliveras. "He's got very good talent regarding the mental and physical aspects of the game. He just has to keep playing to get better."

The young infielder has also seen his share of struggles in the field, committing a team leading 12 errors while spending time at second base in addition to shortstop for the B-Mets.

"I'm just trying to concentrate on making the routine plays," said Tejada, who has also shown that he can make difficult plays look easy. And while the 14 errors at the midpoint may seem like a lot, he is on pace to slightly better the 30 he committed in 2008.

As for the rest of the season, Tejada's goal is simple.

"I just want to get better and better," he said.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories