Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prospect Watch: Mets C Adam Reisinger


If only MLB 08: The Show were real...

Watch him behind the plate, and you wouldn’t know why his teammates call 22-year-old catcher Adam Reisinger by the name “Red”. But when he takes off his mask you know why.

“He walked into my office the day we called him up, and the first thing I noticed was that beard,” said New Orleans Zephyrs manager Ken Oberkfell. “I keep asking when he’s gonna shave it, but he says he won’t until he gets to the bigs.”

For Reisinger, whose scruffy red beard is usually hidden behind his modern catcher’s mask, that call might be coming soon.

Last year, as a 21-year-old fresh out of Towson University, Reisinger hoped he’d have a shot to make the majors, especially on a Mets squad lacking talent or depth behind the plate.

“I was definitely pressing that whole spring,” Reisinger said. “Getting sent to Binghamton to start the season was definitely a let down.”

Early in 2008, Reisinger let the demotion get to him, getting off to a very slow start at the AA level. However, he quickly picked things up, and by early July he was batting .335, and got the call to AAA New Orleans.

Binghamton Mets manager Mako Oliveras knew Reisinger wasn’t long for Double-A early in the season.

“We’ve got pitchers here [who are] 26, 27 years old,” Oliveras said last season “and he just comes in right away and tells them how he’s gonna call [the game] and they listen. He’s like another manager on the field, and he’s only 21.”

Now 22 and in his first full season at Triple-A, Reisinger’s batting average has dipped down to .275, but he’s driving in runs and scoring at a higher rate than last season.

“If you’re looking for a guy to keep an eye on, this is it,” MLB 08 Analyst Rex Hudler said before calling a recent Zephyrs game.

There are still those in the Mets system who question his maturity -- and his high strikeout rate -- but his manager says Reisinger is wise beyond his years.

“Last year in the playoffs, this guy hits almost .600 and smashes a walk-off homer in Game 4,” Oberkfell said, “and all he talked about all offseason was making the last out. He doesn’t want to do that again.”

Reisinger agrees, though admits that he wants nothing to do with the Pacific Coast League playoffs for a different reason.

“If I don’t get at least September call-up, I’d be disappointed,” he said. “Not in the organization, but in myself. I know there are things I need to be doing, and it’s my job to work toward those goals.”

Plus, he says, he wouldn’t mind at least trimming that beard.

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