Havens was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 29th round of the 2005 draft, but did not sign. Three years later, the Mets selected him in the first round (22nd overall), the same year in which they chose Ike Davis. Since then, Havens has spent a good chunk of time on the shelf with various injuries and has only amassed about one full season’s worth of plate appearances. This past offseason, Havens underwent surgery in which an inch of his rib was shaved off because it was rubbing against another rib and causing discomfort in his oblique. Now healthy, there is reason to expect big things from the 24 year old Havens.
In his injury plagued career, Reese has accumulated 667 plate appearances: 97 at Brooklyn, 495 in at St. Lucie and 75 at Binghamton. Over those 667 PA, Havens has hit .261/.363/.467 with 26 homers, 29 doubles, 133 strikeouts and 80 walks. The strikeout total is a little high, but there is no arguing with his on-base and slugging percentages. This past season, where he split time between St. Lucie and Binghamton, Havens hit .312/.386/.592 with nine homers in 140 PA. Furthermore, before his season ended with Binghamton, Reese was hitting .338/.400/.662 with 6 homers in 75 PA.
The sample size is still small, but over the course of his minor league career, Havens has demonstrated one thing for sure: he has power. With second base being seen increasingly as an offensive position (see Chase Utley, Dann Uggla and Robinson Cano), Havens seems to fit that bill. In the minors, Havens smacked one home run per 25.6 PA. In 2010, Havens averaged one homer per 15.6 PA, and his torrid start at Binghamton yielded one homer every 12.5 PA. Just as a point of comparison, Havens’ minor league PA/HR ratio are better than the career minor league ratios of Utley (32.0), Uggla (37.2) and Cano (51.4). Havens sample size is much smaller than these players (who all saw their power improve as they progressed to the majors), but he seems on track to continue hitting for power.
Another interesting point about Havens: he’s played more far more games at shortstop (99) in the minors than at second base (29). His defense at second appears to have been average thus far (his total zone fielding runs above average at second base is zero), and odds are all Havens will need to be is average, or maybe even a little below, to make it in the majors if he proves he can hit. Still, having a full year in the minors to play the position will be helpful.
With no disrespect to the plethora of the candidates, none of them should figure into the organization’s long term plans at second base. Of course with any prospect, especially one that has been injury plagued, it’s difficult to predict how Havens will translate at the major league level. Still, if he can remain healthy, he is a more attractive option at second base than whomever will play the position this year.