Prior to the start of the season, all Mets’s fans wanted from Jose Reyes was for him to show he was healthy, while also providing a spark to a team that was in desperate need of one for the last two years.
Check and check.
However, Reyes has gone over and beyond the call of duty while upping the ante. Reyes is having such a good season that he now must be considered a legitimate MVP candidate.
Whether it is his healthy body or being motivated to get his payday, Reyes is undeniably having a career year. Reyes’ value to the Mets can’t be measured in words.
Going into Saturday’s game, Reyes was batting an unimaginable .344. He has become a multi-hit machine and is the quickest Met ever to reach 100 hits in a season. Reyes leads the NL in average, hits (101), triples (12) and is second in stolen bases (21), runs (51) and doubles (tied-20).
Reyes will have some tough competition in the NL MVP race as Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp, St. Louis’ Lance Berkman, Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, and Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder are having very productive seasons as well.
However, the aforementioned sluggers have stats that are buoyed by their run-producing capabilities. While Fielder, Votto, etc. place fear in opposing pitchers and can go deep at a moments notice, Reyes changes the game in his own way, especially if he reaches base.
Not all MVP’s have to be prodigious sluggers. Reyes, long considered the ‘most exciting player in baseball,’ is a game changer with his feet, speed and glove.
One of the factors that may work against Reyes is the fact that he is on what many consider a mediocre team. The Mets are now two games under .500, and if they fall further out of the race, it will do no favors to Reyes’ MVP chances.
Voters usually vote for players whose teams are at least in the tick of the race. But it’s not without precedence that a player on lousy/mediocre team (see Alex Rodriguez with the 2003 Texas Rangers and Andre Dawson with the 1987 Chicago Cubs) doesn’t win the award.
Reyes’ Mets are not as bad as A-Rod’s Rangers or Dawson’s Cubs though, at least not right now.
The Mets are managing to stay afloat and it’s mostly because of the stellar play of Reyes. One could only imagine what Reyes’ stats (and the Mets overall outlook) might look like if the Mets had a healthy David Wright and Ike Davis.
If you take Reyes off this Mets’ team, they might be battling the likes of the Astros for the worst team in baseball. Reyes is just that valuable.
Just look back at the last two seasons without Reyes. Ever since Reyes became a regular staple in the Mets’ lineup in 2005, the worst two seasons the Mets had were not coincidentally the last two (2009 and 2010)- the same two seasons where Reyes was nothing close to full health.
Now that Reyes is fully healthy and showing great maturity, he is putting his potential on full blast. With his contract situation in limbo, Reyes is playing with a chip on his shoulder and it is showing.
It’s also the little things.
In last night’s loss to the Angles, Reyes drew a leadoff walk in the 9th inning down one run and his demeanor following the free pass was that of an exuberant leader. He got the walk and proceeded to clap thunderously, as if to rile up his teammates. He would wreak havoc on Angel’s closer Jordan Walden, as Walden would walk the next batter (Justin Turner) while paying more attention to Reyes than Turner.
It all went for naught, as Walden would strike out the side to end the game, but not before Reyes made his mark on the game. Even when Reyes doesn’t get a hit (as he did last night), he still makes the game interesting and nerve wracking for opposing pitchers.
As a worthy MVP candidate, Reyes is getting richer with every day. Hopefully the Mets see the value in Reyes as us fans do, and they can come to some sort of deal.
With the way Reyes is playing it seems far-fetched that he will be traded at the deadline, as the Mets would most likely not get fair value back in a deal. Teams will be hesitant to trade for Reyes, and mortgage their farm system, if he was just to be a rental player.
So, enjoy Reyes and relish in his greatness.
At the end of the year Reyes may be an MVP, but more important, let’s hope he remains a Met above anything else.