Reyes Cannot Hit Lead-Off Anymore
Instead of having the FBI look for Reyes, Collins should have the FBI look for a better option at third base and to bat lead-off.
Now, no one can reasonably believe that Reyes is as bad as his current 1-27 streak. Even with Reyes fighting it since Spring Training, you’d expect him to at least beat out a throw with his speed. Reyes is better than this.
And yet, Reyes still isn’t good enough to be asked to play everyday and lead-off. Since Reyes’ career year in 2011 when he became the first ever Mets player to win a batting title, Reyes has been on a decline. That decline has been accelerated the past three years.
Consider during his first go-round with the Mets, Reyes was a .292/.341/.441 hitter who averaged 25 doubles, 11 triples, nine homers, 47 RBI, and 41 stolen bases a season. In that time, he accumulated 27.9 WAR. However, Reyes was more than just stats He was a dynamic shortstop whose exuberance pumped up the team and the crowd.
Since leaving the Mets, Reyes has been a .281/.331/.410 hitter who has averaged 21 doubles, four triples, eight homers, 37 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. The bulk of those stats come from Reyes first year in both Miami and Toronto. The numbers get worse from there.
In the last three seasons, Reyes is a .279/.321/.400 hitter who averages 24 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 43 RBI, and 21 stolen bases.
Now, with Reyes coming back to the Mets last year, the narrative was Reyes would be rejuvenated by playing for the Mets again. As we see with Reyes’ 1-27 streak this season, that has been proven false.
Reyes is a 33 year old player in decline. He’s more in decline as a left-handed batter as he has been a .225/.276/.347 hitter.
When you can’t hit right-handed pitching anymore, you can’t play everyday. When you have a .321 OBP over the past three seasons, you can’t hit leadoff.
The issue here is that this is a problem with no easy solution. Wilmer Flores has the same issues against right-handed pitching. Many Mets fans solution would be to platoon him with Kelly Johnson, but Johnson is still a free agent.
T.J. Rivera was a big part of the Mets push to the Wild Card last year, but it’s doubtful he can play everyday as his aggressiveness at the plate has suppressed his OBP in his minor league career.
It’s probably still too early to consider Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario to get the call-up. No one can reasonably say when David Wright will return.
And with that, the Mets are likely out of third base options. Arguably, Reyes is still the best option at third base. That argument gets harder and harder to defend with each out he makes.
One thing that is indefensible is batting him lead-off. His .321 OBP over the past three years demands he hit lower in the lineup. His struggles this season beg for it to happen sooner rather than later.
In his place, the Mets can literally pick anyone else as they cannot possibly be this poor. Ideally, that someone would also play third base. Unfortunately, that player does not exist, at least right now.
Perhaps that player will be discovered as part of the FBI investigation.