(In)fielding a homegrown team

When the Mets used an infield alignment of Ike Davis (1B), Ruben Tejada (2B), Jose Reyes (SS) and David Wright (3B) against the Marlins this Friday and Saturday, they accomplished a rare feat — especially for a big-market team. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time since 1991 that the Mets had used a starting infield composed entirely of players who had never played for another professional organization.

wrightreyesyoung.jpgThe last time the Mets used an exclusively homegrown infield alignment, back on the final day of the 1991 season, it consisted of Chris Donnels (1B), Keith Miller (2B), Jeff Gardner (SS) and Gregg Jefferies (3B). And those guys, as a unit, weren’t particularly good.

Using as many homegrown players as possible is a goal for every organization, but one that few achieve. The Yankees have two of the best homegrown players in the league at shortstop and second base, but huge-ticket free agents at the corners. The Phillies have gone with a consistent alignment of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins in their infield, but usually start an outsider at third.

Homegrown players, in general, are cheaper, younger and better. They are also more popular, as Wright, Reyes, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano can attest.

Consider the World Series winners of the past decade. Most of them — yes, even the Yankees — have had homegrown players at their core. And that, if nothing else, bodes well for the Mets.

—–Follow along on Twitter @anthonydicomo.

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