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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jose Reyes at 162 games

i've been fairly harsh on jose reyes, mostly for the fact that he's been a sub .300 obp (what i've dubbed the "reyes line") leadoff man for the past 90+ games extending back to his return to action last summer. he's really degraded as a contact hitter, and his plate awareness and clue of what to do in the batter's box has worsened each year.

overall though, the 162 game numbers aren't that putrid at all for the now nearly 22 year old phenom.

i was planning this blog entry yesterday, and i think jose knew about it. going into the game, he had a .299 obp, .397 slg, and .695 ops. all numbers heavily carried by his 69 game rookie season. by going 3-5 today with 2 triples and 2 runs scored, jose really prettied up his career stats. he even stole a base to make it a nifty round 40 for his career.

so really, what's to make of this "rookie season" that spans parts of 3 years? offensively, 185 hits, 103 runs, 10 hrs, 36 doubles, 9 triples, 40 steals in 49 attempts. that's really quite impressive no matter how you slice it. yeah, i can nitpick (boy, can i!) about the atrocious 23 bb/96 k. that has to improve, and it should.

i think the biggest thing with him is i'm not waiting for his next hammy or back or ankle or whatever injury to strike him down out of the blue. hopefully, i haven't just jinxed him, but that's really been the source of most of my reyes angst. you just can't build your franchise relying on a perma-damaged kid. it'll take a couple healthy seasons (not a couple healthy months) to finally assure me this guy can stay in one piece.

perhaps, jose is still in "recovery" mode from all the injuries, rehabbing and time off. his overall game (offensively, defensively and on the basepaths) is clearly not at the 2003 level when he bid us all adieu at the end of august. i'm looking at the current level jose has been playing in 2005 as his floor and it must and will get better from here.

i've always said that for jose to play up to his potential, it's really a mind game. more so than with most others players. jose has been just as mentally fragile as physically fragile. he carries a heavy load of expectations here and he knows it. he's supposed to get on base, steal the next base, score runs, and win gold gloves, and he knows it. jose has to play his game, which means put his natural god-given aggressiveness ahead of trying to learn the unnatural skill of patience. jose plays the speed game and he plays it fast. that's what brought him to the majors at the age of 20 and it's what gave him his only 2 months of major league success that summer. hopefully, he recaptures that magic. i think he will. his next 162 game stats will be a level higher all around, and it won't take until late 2007 to accumulate them. (knock on wood)

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