Get to know Ruben Tejada
With the departure of shortstop Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins, the Mets look to Ruben Tejada as his replacement. Learn more about the 22-year-old shortstop with these 10 facts.
Compiled by Jim Mancari
Ruben Tejada was born on Oct. 27, 1989, in Santiago, the capital of the Veraguas province in the Republic of Panama.
The Mets signed the 5-foot-11, 185-pound infielder as an international free agent when he was 17 years old.
Tejada joined Astros outfielder Carlos Lee, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and former Yankees relief pitcher Ramiro Mendoza on the roster for the Panama National Team during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The team was eliminated in two games without scoring a single run.
Tejada started the 2010 season in the Major Leagues as Jose Reyes missed the first four games while recovering from a thyroid condition. He recorded his first career hit — a single off Nationals pitcher Tyler Walker — on April 9, and he hit his first — and only — career home run on Sept. 5 off Cubs pitcher Marcos Mateo.
Tejada hit .284 in 96 games with the Mets in 2011, splitting time between second base and shortstop, his natural position. He drove in 36 runs and had 16 extra-base hits.
Known more so for his defense than his hitting, Tejada recorded a .984 fielding percentage at second base and a .956 fielding percentage at shortstop in 2011.
Tejada is one of 213 players since 1901 to receive at least 500 plate appearances before age 22. Of these players, 116 were All-Stars at some point in their careers.
Tejada is the third youngest projected Opening Day shortstop in the big leagues. Starlin Castro of the Cubs (March 24, 1990) and Tyler Pastornicky of the Braves (Dec. 13, 1989) are the only ones younger than Tejada.
Tejada made headlines early this spring training since Mets manager Terry Collins was disappointed that the 22-year-old didn’t show up earlier based on his increased role with the team. Tejada claimed to have been delayed by visa issues in Panama and vowed to make up the lost time.