A major-league talent evaluator offered this report on Michael Cuddyer, who signed a two-year, $21-million deal with the Mets on Monday:
On Cuddyer's offense: Has a great sense of himself offensively and as a player. As he ages, he still has a quick enough bat. Yet he is able to cheat on good fastballs up in the zone with a knack for getting a piece of the good pitches still. Can turn on average fastballs and possesses a good two-strike approach. He's always a dangerous out as he battles well and has upgraded his knack to read breaking pitches. He takes more pitches that he used to chase and has become a good off-speed hitter.
On Cuddyer's defense: He can play rightfield and still has an above-average arm that has to be respected. He can also fill in as needed in leftfield, third base and first base. He's a quintessential team player who will hit or play wherever he's told.
On Cuddyer's presence: He keeps himself in very good shape and is still strong at age 35. His leadership and work ethic are off the charts as he's become a mentor for young players. He'll put out fires for his manager.
On Cuddyer's drawbacks: He's injury- prone with shoulder and hamstring issues. His style of play can leave him vulnerable to injuries.
Bottom line: Cuddyer should form a great leadership tandem with David Wright. If healthy, he can still hit .300 with a .350 on-base, 20 homers and 85 RBIs as a legit No. 5 hole hitter.
COMPILED BY MARC CARIG
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