When Jose Reyes left the New York Mets to join the Miami Marlins, there was understandable concern how the Mets would replace a player of his caliber.
After all, in his final season in New York, Reyes had a career year. He led the NL with a .337 batting average and 16 triples, scoring over 100 runs for the fourth time in his career.
Reyes posted an OPS+ of 145 in 2011, well above his career OPS+ of 102, which he had going into that 2011 season.
After he left to join the Marlins, he's had a solid season, but nothing quite like his big year in Queens.
Reyes is currently hitting .288 with a .352 on-base percentage, and a 111 OPS+. On Fangraphs' wRC+, Reyes is at 113, which is third in the NL among shortstops.
Only Ian Desmond and Jed Lowrie, both of whom are currently on the disabled list, have higher wRC+ than Reyes among shortstops this season.
However, the Mets have gotten surprisingly strong production out of their shortstop as well this season.
After another multiple-hit game Thursday, (against Reyes's Marlins, no less) 22-year-old Ruben Tejada is now hitting .323 with a .370 on-base percentage in 2012.
That's good enough for a 111 wRC+, and a 112 OPS+. That's fifth-best in the majors behind only Desmond, Lowrie, Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera.
For pennies, (well, roughly $490,000, but you get the idea) Ruben Tejada has exceeded expectations with the bat, while playing fundamentally sound baseball on both sides of the ball.
Ruben Tejada has shown he's going to be a solid big leaguer for years to come, and it's exciting to think about the fact that he's still developing his game.
At just 22-years-old, young Ruben Tejada is proving his doubters wrong, that he's not just an all-glove, no-bat prospect. He's trying to become a heck of a lot more.
In a season of ups and downs, Tejada has been a shining beacon of light, and a player that Mets fans should be excited about. Now, and in the future.