Scouting Mets Prospect #10: Reese Havens

Havens will need his bat at every level

The New York Mets selected Reese Havens with the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 draft. Havens made the jump to St. Lucie in 2009 where he showed talents with the bat that have many thinking bigger things. He again battled injuries this past season but Havens stock remains high and should continue to rise as long as he can stay on the field.

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Vital Statistics
Name: Reese Havens
DOB: October 20, 1986
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Status: 1st Round (2008) – South Carolina

The expectations for Reese Havens were bigger in 2009. The second of the Mets' three first round picks in 2008 endured a rash of injuries during his debut season in Brooklyn, but a full season of play provided the chance for Havens' talents to come to the forefront.

Havens saw limited during spring training and did not participate in much of the team drills early during the camp season. However, that did not show at the start of the season when he got off to a blistering start. Havens raced to a .275 average with four home runs and seven additional extra base hits.

In just 78 at-bats, Havens surpassed nearly every measure of production in 23 games during his rookie season. He kept the production up in May when he three more home runs, but his average dipped significantly to .184 in 87 May at-bats. He bounced back somewhat early in the first half of June, but then the injury bug popped up again.

Havens went down with a quadriceps injury early in June and that ultimately led to him spending over six weeks on the bench. It disrupted the flow of a promising season in which Havens showed growth with the bat and the offensive traits that made him a first round selection.

When he returned in late July and with full health, Havens got back to mashing the ball. He ended the season with a dynamic month of August in which he hit .282 with five home runs, including three long balls and nine RBI in a 10-game stretch to end the season.

That set him up for a spot in the Arizona Fall League where Havens finally made the move to second base on a somewhat regular basis. As a member of the taxi squad, Havens saw action only twice a week. Nonetheless, he was very productive in his limited time. Havens hit .368 with two home runs and five RBI in ten games, and showed early, positive signs in his move to second base.

The defensive side of his time in Arizona will play a big role in Havens development and ascension to New York. His bat, conversely, is a weapon that could expedite his rise. Havens shows many flashes of big league form. Now it is a matter of harnessing his talent and hoping injuries are a thing of the past.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2009

St. Lucie

.247

360

89

14

52

53

3

55

73

.361

.422

2008

Brooklyn

.247

85

21

3

11

13

3

11

27

.340

.471



Batting and Power: Havens is an aggressive yet very disciplined hitter. He simply does not expand his strike zone, working his way into deep counts and forcing pitchers to pitch him in the zone. He shows excellent balance, weight transfer and finish both in his hips and hands. The power he creates with his hip movement creates more power in his hands and wrists. That bat control will make him a quality contact hitter and gives him plenty of power. He still possesses more of a level swing, but generated more lift this season which led to his power burst. That should continue in future. Havens needs to do a better job of adjusting to pitchers' adjustments to him, but his advanced swing and plate disciplined should not make that a prolonged issue.

Base Running and Speed: Havens boasts good athleticism, but speed is his average tool. He is generally a station-to-station runner who cannot take many chances on the bases. Speed is not a part of his game though he will register his small total of stolen bases per season.

Defense: This is the biggest variable in Havens' game. A shortstop by trade throughout his career to this point, he lacks the total compliment of tools to stick at the position. At shortstop, Havens struggles with range and has an average arm for the position. He had a habit of playing the ball too deep into his body which lengthens his transfer and release. Those flaws play heavily in the organization's decision to get his move to second base underway. His mechanics will still be a pressing focus on the other side of the bag. There are no guarantees for success, but second base should mitigate the defensive shortcomings.

Projection: Unknowns about his defense mean that Havens will likely have to hit his way to the big leagues, but he has the big league bat to do it. Whether or not his defense solidifies will determine if he grows into a starter or a utility player off the bench that provides pop and a small measure of defense at second—or possibly even first. He has enough bat that he should hit for a .275-.300 average with 15 home runs as a starter at the highest level. Defense, however, will determine if he gets the chance to do it as an everyday player.

ETA: 2011. Havens will open the season in Binghamton where a strong offensive season could lead to a late-season look in Triple-A. Havens will get his looks in camp, but may not be in big league contention at the start of the 2011 season. Given the impending transition at second base at the end of the 2011 season, the door should open for Havens to get his first shot in New York.

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