Thursday, June 22, 2006

He's Good
By Ben Valentine

A week and a half ago I wrote a piece where I saluted Jose Reyes as being a much better player now than at any other time in his career because of his improved walk rate. However his average was down in the .240's prompting some people to look past his marketed improvement. Thus, I said this in regards to Jose Reyes' average:

So why is his batting average down in the .240’s? It suggests one of two things; either Reyes was one of the luckiest .273 hitters in baseball last year or he’s just been a tad unlucky this year. The better power he’s shown would disprove the idea that Reyes is uncomfortable hitting deep in the count. The general improvement he’s shown in every category except batting average suggests that it is the anomaly, not the other stats.

So I reasoned this:

Since he is clearly making better contact than last year, when he was primarily a speedy singles hitter, the average should eventually climb to at least where it was in 05’. If Reyes maintains his walk rate, that would put his on base approximately at .338. It isn’t phenomenal, but with Reyes’ speed (he currently swiping bases at an 81% clip, which is excellent), that would make him a solid leadoff hitter.

And I finished with this:

However, since the numbers indicate that Reyes has improved in everything else, why should batting average be any different? If his walk rate maintains, I expect Reyes’ average will approach .300 by the end of the year. As such, a .350 OBP or higher is not out of the question.

Reyes' splits currently stand at .283/.347/.472/.819. He has 7 home runs, 19 doubles and 9 triples to go along with 30 stolen bases in 37 tries. That's an 81% clip. He's on pace to score over 140 runs this year.

By the way, according to people smarter than me, when you have as high a SB rate as Reyes does, it adds another 20 or so points to OBP. So in reality, Reyes' value currently stands at .283/.367/.472/.839. From a shortstop, who just turned 23.

Wednesday night, Reyes hit for the cycle. Quite a memorable achievement for the youngster. But one gets the feeling there's going to be many more memorable nights for him in the future. So, to sum up, Jose Reyes is good. Real good.

And the best part is, he's only going to get better.

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