PSA: Jose Reyes Is A Bad Baseball Player
There are times a manager is stuck playing a player because he doesn’t have a better option. There are times when a manager is stuck playing a player because that player has a big contract, and the team wants to try to extract as much value from the player as they can. There are other times when you play a player because you legitimately believe that player will improve.
You cannot possibly justify putting Reyes in the lineup now. In his first 58 games this year, Reyes is hitting .186/.261/.294 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers, 18 RBI, and nine stolen bases. Among Major League third baseman, Reyes has the lowest batting average and slugging. He also has the second worst on base percentage. His -1.1 WAR is the second worst in the majors among third baseman, and it is the third worst among major league infielders. Overall, he’s a bad hitter.
You can’t even argue Reyes is hot. He is current two for his last 30, and he hasn’t had an extra base hit in over two weeks. You could call it a funk, but look at his numbers for the season. This is who Reyes is now.
He’s also not much of a fielder. In 270 innings at third, he has posted a -4 DRS and a -2.2 UZR. It’s a short sample size for sure, but it lines up with the numbers he posted in 427 innings at third last year when he had a -6 DRS and a -2.5 UZR.
It’s not like Collins is stuck playing Reyes. First and foremost, Reyes is making the major league minimum, and he is going to be a free agent after the season. There’s no need to try to save any face by playing Reyes. Also, there is a much better option.
Wilmer Flores is in the middle of a career year. He’s hitting .326/.349/.507 with eight doubles, a triple, five homers, 18 RBI, and a stolen base. He’s not the platoon bat he once was either. Against right-handed pitching this year, Flores is hitting .298/.327/.462 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and 14 RBI. Since May 1st, Flores is hitting .366/.398/.573 off of right-handed pitching.
In essence, Flores is not just the Mets best choice at third base. Right now, Flores is the best hitter in the Mets lineup. Sure, he will likely be supplanted by another player on the roster. However, that player is likely to be Michael Conforto or Yoenis Cespedes. It’s not going to be Reyes.
By the way, if you are interested in fielding your best defensive infield, Flores still needs to play ahead of Reyes. In 197.1 innings at third this year, Flores has a 1 DRS and a -2.3 UZR. No, those aren’t great numbers, but they are better numbers than Reyes is posting.
Overall, there is absolutely no reason why Reyes is in the starting lineup. Frankly, you could argue the Mets should have kept Sean Gilmartin and designated Reyes for assignment. At the very least, that would have kept T.J. Rivera, who is having a much better season than Reyes, on the roster.
But no, Reyes has been in the starting lineup for four straight games and five out of the last six games while appearing in all six games. That’s more than any other infielder on the roster. It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. Unfortuantely, with Reyes’ sizzling hot 1-4 with an RBI last night, it’s not likely Collins will reduce his playing time.
Editor’s Note: This was first published on MMO.