Jose Reyes? “Move Him Up to a Higher League”
“Move Him Up to a Higher League”A Comparison of Jose Reyes in 2001 and Now
Evan Pritchard copyright © 2006
July 29th, 2006
Gary Cohen once said of St. Louis star Albert Pujols, “He’s ready to move up to a higher league. The problem is, he’s already in the majors.” There are times when you could say that about Jose Reyes, who occasionally leads the major leagues in seven or so major offensive categories. This is nothing new for Reyes, who had good numbers in the minor leagues, good enough to “move up to a higher league,” which the Mets did three times.
Jose Reyes was born in 1983, and was signed in 1999 as an undrafted free agent, so when he played for the Kingsport, Tennessee Mets Rookie Team, in the Appalachian League in the year 2000, he was only 17. He only played for part of a season. The following year, 2001 he was 18 and he played for the Columbia, South Carolina “Capitol City SAL league, Single A Mets ballclub. He played 108 games that season, slightly more than the number he has already played for the Mets this year. It makes for an interesting comparison.
That year he played in 108 games, with 407 at bats. He scored 71 runs, banged out 125 hits, and bashed 22 doubles. He ran out 15 triples and thwacked 5 home runs. He had 48 runs batted in, and maintained a .307 average, with a .337 on base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage to boot. He stole 30 bases and was caught stealing 10 times. He struck out 71 times against only 18 bases on balls. He was moved up the following year, 2002, to A+ ball, then AA the same year, and ended up with the Binghamton Mets. Between the two teams he stole a total of 58 bases, still only 19 years old. The following year, 2003, he was moved up to Norfolk for only 42 games, and then joined the mothership for a very good rookie year. He was twenty years old.
Compare that pivotal year at Columbia with this year so far: He has played in 10 less games so far (98 games) and already has had 17 more plate appearances (424 plate appearances,) scoring 12 more runs (83 runs), with two less hits (123 hits), two less doubles (20), three less triples (12) and four more homers (9 ). He has four less runs batted in (44) and has stolen 13 more bases (43) and has been caught stealing one more time (11). He has an on base percentage that is ten points higher (.347), his slugging percentage is 24 points lower (.458) and his batting average is currently 17 points lower (.290) but at times has almost equaled the .307 he hit back in A ball. He has twice as many walks (36 bases on balls)compared to 18 less strikeouts (53) which is a recent improvement.
When he has played ten more games this year we can make an even closer comparison, as the games played will be equal, but it looks to me like he’ll get those two missing hits by Tuesday, the two missing doubles and four missing rbis by Thursday, and the three missing triples, well, who knows? Very soon. As to getting his average up to .307? Remember, he’s only 23. When he hits that mark, it will be time to move him up to a higher league, the one where Albert Pujols can’t get a hit and DiMaggio is just your average Joe.