After a sub-par 2010 and an injury riddled 2009, Jose Reyes burst back onto the scene in a big way this season. The 28-year-old had his best season per wOBA, finishing with a mark of .386, 20 points above his previous career high. He was great in the fantasy world as well, ending the season as the 29th rated player according to Yahoo! after coming in 103rd in 2010. The season likely wasn’t as good compared with his 2006-2008 years when he finished with more home runs, RBI, runs, hits and steals, but relative to league average it was a fine effort. When trying to predict what he’ll do in 2012 there are a few factors you need to consider.
He had one of the best first half’s in baseball, hitting .354/.398/529 with 30 steals and 15 triples. The wheels started to come off in July when he dealt with hamstring issues and played in just 15 games, putting up a .713 OPS. August was worse as he would play in eight games. He came back strong in September with an .858 OPS in 25 games but stole just four bases. Reyes, and his fantasy owners, are all too familiar with hamstring injuries seeing how he missed most of the 2009 season due to them. Wherever he plays next season, will he do as much running as he has in the past? Can he steal 40 bases again? Speed is the most important aspect of Reyes’ fantasy game, if he holds that back to save his legs it would put a hurt on his value.
Reyes had a great season, but his BABIP of .353 was .30 points higher than ever before and 11th highest in baseball meaning he got a bit lucky in his performance. Now some players always have high BABIP’s, but Reyes isn’t one. He’s normally in the ~.310 range. His expected BABIP was just .318 which is more in line with his career norms. xBABIP is influenced a lot by Ground ball to fly ball ratio and line drive percentage, which can fluctuate greatly from year to year. This season Reyes had his highest GB/FB and LD% since 2008. If you’re looking for him to hit .330+ with a .380+ OBP again you’re probably going to be disappointed.
We obviously don’t know where Reyes will end up in 2012, but there are a few teams with holes at shortstop that jump out. If Reyes resigns with the Mets he may get a slight boost in power since they’re bringing in the walls at Citi Field, where he already hits very well. The Giants will be in need of a shortstop, but AT&T Park is one of the toughest parks for hitters. If the Red Sox decline to pick up Marco Scutaro’s $6 million option (which I doubt) Reyes would be a great fit in Fenway.
He will no doubt be a high selection once again but as great as his performance in 2011 was there are still many things to be wary of come draft day 2012.
What do you all think?