The Mike Jacobs Quandry
Mike Jacobs has showed he has a sweet swing and could man first base adequately, though he has to work his mitt a lot this off-season. He hit his 10th homerun of his career in the bigs in 91 at-bats. With the Mets need for production at first base and in the middle of the lineup, it is not inconceivable he could be that guy. He has gotten some big hits this year for the Mets and showed the ability to hit more than fastballs. Jacobs certainly looks like a mature hitter for his age, but we are New Yorkers and we have seen this before. We all remember when Kevin Maas hit his 10th career home run in only his 77th at bat, making him the fastest ever to reach that mark at the time. He eventually finished the year with 21 dingers in only 79 games as a 25 year old rookie. He eventually faded out finished with a .230/.281/.316 line with 65 homers in 406 games.
As Met fans, we should all remember Benny Agbayani and how he burst onto the scene. Gary Cohen pointed out that he had hit 10 homers in 73 at-bats and was hitting a tidy .400 during that stretch. After languishing in the minors for seven years, Met fans were starting to get a bit excited about this Bobby Valentine favorite.
"They all labeled me as a 4-A player," Agbayani said. As in, better than Triple-A but not quite major league caliber.
"You just have to prove people wrong, to prove you can play," he said.
We all know how that ended up, right? He actually played well for the Mets in 1999 and 2000 and seemingly was not given every chance to succeed. He broke in too late and did not do enough for people to get that excited.
Lastly, back in 1998, 26 year old rookie Shane Spencer hit 10 homers in 67 at-bats and had a .373/.411/.910 line and helped the Yankees by having a solid playoff run. Spencer was a valuable role player for the Yankees over the next five seasons before bouncing around for the next two seasons and despite having a decent year as a Met, he was trouble by off field incidents like roughing up pizza delivery guys (one of my favorite pastimes) and getting arrest for driving while under the influence.
What is going to happen to Mike Jacobs is obviously unknown, but the precedent for players in New York who smash ten homers quickly and becoming more than AAAA players or role players is not very good. Of course Jacobs could be different and he had two years in 2003 and 2005 that were better minor league seasons than the others, but Shane Spencer did flash some power and put up some good year, albeit not as well rounded as Jacobs' in my opinion. The question is does Omar try and fit a big bat in wherever he can whether it be first base, second base, or the outfield? Or should Omar consider first base taken care of at this point. Judging by the past, I think Omar is taking this with a grain of salt and Mike Jacobs might fall victim to simply not having enough time to show what he can do on this level. The Venezuelan League may help his cause, but I think we all know the Mets do not exactly get excited over young players not named David Wright or Jose Reyes.