Alex Ochoa: Mid Nineties Mets Outfielder (1995 - 1997)

Alex Ochoa was born on March 29, 1972, in Miami Lakes Florida. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 1991 draft. 

Over the next four seasons Baseball America had his rated along the top fifty prospects each season, peaking at #35 in 1995. He hit over .290 three times in his first four seasons getting up to the AA ball level. 

He eventually got traded to the New York Mets with Damon Buford (son of former 1969 Oriole Don Buford) in July 1995 in exchange for Bobby Bonilla.

After landing at AAA Tidewater, he batted .309 in 34 games with two HRs six doubles & 15 RBIs before getting called up to the big leagues in September. 

Mets Career: On September 18th, 1995, Alex made his MLB debut getting a hit in his first at bat & stealing a base. He scored a run in the 7-1 loss at Atlanta.

As a September call up, he hit .297 going 11-37, with four multi-hit games in eleven games played. There was a lot of hype for the highly touted prospect Ochoa, for the future. 

1996: Ochoa began the year at AAA Tidewater, where he hit .339 with 8 HRs & 39 RBIs in 67 games. He was called up to the Mets in late June. 

On June 22nd, in his first game back up, he singled & drove in two runs helping the Mets to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. In his first eight games, he collected eleven hits with four doubles & six RBIs batting .344. 

First Career HR: On July 1st he hit his first career HR, coming off the Phillies Mike Williams in a 6-4 loss at Philadelphia.

Hitting For the Cycle: On July 3rd, Ochoa had a career day in Philadelphia, hitting for the cycle in the Mets 10-6 win over the Phillies. 

In his first at bat in the 2nd inning, he singled to center field off Terry Mullholand. In the Mets 4th inning, Ochoa tripled to right field driving in Todd Hundley giving the Mets a 4-2 lead. 

In the 6th inning he doubled off Terry Mullholland who was still in the game. Butch Huskey followed with a two run HR scoring Ochoa. In the top of the 8th, Ochoa completed the cycle with a solo HR off Steve Frey. He was the sixth player in Mets history to hit for the cycle.

As the Mets moved on to Montreal, Ochoa stayed hot, hitting a three run HR off Kirk Rueter in a 11-3 win. 

In the first two weeks back on the club, he was batting .367 with 18 hits & drove in 15 runs. The hot streak cooed off as he drove in just one run in the last two weeks of July. He would not hit another HR for two months as well.

In September he hit safely in ten of twelve games flirting to keep his average over .300 to end the
season, but he went hitless in his final three games. to fall to .294.

In 82 games he hit four HRs with 19 doubles 33 RBIs 37 runs scored 30 strike outs 17 walks a .336 on base % & a .761 OPS. The Mets finished fourth going 71-91 after firing Dallas Green they hired Bobby Valentine as manager.

1997: In 1997 he began as the Mets main right fielder but struggled at the plate, no staying over the .200 mark steadily until mid-June. Eventually Manager Bobby Valentine used the slow footed Butch Huskey in right field more often. 

Ochoa began to hit better in the summer months.

On July 13th he came into a 6-6 tied game with the Braves in the top of the 10th inning as a pinch hitter. Ochoa hit a HR off Mike Bielecki, just his second HR of the year. The Mets went on o a 7-6 win.

On September 10th he had a four hit, three RBI Day against the Phillies in a big Mets 10-2 win at Shea Stadium.

Overall, he saw action in 113 games as a fifth outfielder posting the league fourth best fielding % in right field (.982%). His batting average dropped to .244 with 14 doubles 3 HRs 22 RBIs a .300 on base % & a .649 OPS. 

After the 1997 season Ochoa was traded to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Rick Becker who would hit .190 in 49 games for the 1998 Mets.

Post Mets Career: Ochoa batted .288 in Minnesota and then was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers as a player to be named later. In Milwaukee he had a fine season, batting .300 with a .404 on base % along with eight HRs & 40 RBIs playing in 119 games.

Next year he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds where he had career highs in batting average (.316) HRs (13) & RBIs (58). He was the teams fourth outfielder behind Dante Bichette, Dimitri Young & Ken Griffey. That year the Reds finished second under Jack McKeon going 85-77. 

After spending part of 2001 with the Reds batting .290 in 90 games he was sent to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Todd Walker & Robin Jennings. That season he hit a career high 30 doubles between the two teams while batting .276. 

In 2002 he was traded back to Milwaukee in a three-team deal that sent Lenny Harris & Glendon Rusch to the Mets. In 85 games he hit 256. On July 31st he was involved in another trade, his seventh in eight years. He & Sal Fasano were sent to the eventual world champion Anaheim Angels. He played in 37 games in the regular season batting .277.

2002 Post Season: Ochoa saw action in all three post season series. In the ALDS win over the AL NY team he came in as a defensive replacement in three games. In the ALCS win over the Twins he went 2-4 as a pinch hitter scoring two runs as well. In the World Series he played in five games getting one at bat.

Japan: In 2003 he went to play in Japan for & played for the Chunichi Dragons from 2003-2006. He then tried out for the Boston Red Sox but didn't make it out of Spring Training. He returned to Japan playing for the Hiroshima Carp for 2007-2008.

Trivia: While playing with Carp, he made an appearance on a Japanese TV drama show.

In an eight-year MLB career, he batted .289 with 587 hits while playing for seven different teams. He hit 46 HRs with 131 doubles 261 RBIs & 56 stolen bases, with a .344 on base %. 

Retirement: In 2009 he was an assistant coach for the Boston Red Sox. In 2010 he was a Red Sox special assistant for baseball operations. 

In 2011 he served as batting coach at A ball Salem. For the 2012 season, he was the Sox first base coach, under manager, Bobby Valentine.


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