All eyes on Jose Reyes

Shortstop Jose Reyes, of the New York Mets, today told reporters that he feels like a little kid in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  In his first work out session of the spring, he was said to be very quick.  How quick?  That hasn’t been mentioned yet, but it’s a huge part of Jose Reyes’ game and all eyes, including prospective fantasy owners, will be on Reyes this spring.

Kevin Kernan of the New York post reports that Reyes and partner in crime, Third baseman David Wright, have shown up at camp with a bit of an attitude and swagger.  Wright is coming off of a disappointing campaign, and Reyes missed most of the 2009 season with a hamstring injury.  After Wright proclaimed to the media that the 2010 version of the New York Mets would win the World Series, Reyes said that he has “no doubt” that Mets can reach the World Series.

If nothing else, you’ve got to love the enthusiasm of Jose Reyes and David Wright.

What fantasy owners want is the same speed Reyes showed 2 seasons ago, when he was among the top players in fantasy points.  They would also like to see some more of that power potential he displayed early in his career.  That may or not happen, but the important thing right now is his speed.  If everything returns for Reyes, and he can steal upwards of 60 or more bases, he’s an elite option, capable of scoring 800 to 900 points.  He would be worth $30 or more again and bring in $40-$50, or more, in auctions.

The problem is, if the speed is down and he steals “only” 40 bases, while keeping his career .286 batting average intact, and his power numbers (12 hr’s in 2007, 16 in 2008, only 2 in 2009, due to injury) don’t improve, hes only worth about $18, which is far from an elite.  That could be dangerous to fantasy owners’ budgets.  Based on past performance and name recognition, you could still see Jose Reyes hit the $40 mark in most leagues, while pushing the $50 mark in some.

The 6’1″, 201 lb.  Reyes has shown that he has power potential.  In 2006, he hit 19 homer runs and had 81 runs batted in.  Reyes, who will be 27 years old in June, wouldn’t be the 1st player to trade in speed for power, and there’s a chance he could become a 30-30 guy.  I think 25-35 may be more realistic.  Tie that to a .300 batting average and he is still an elite player.  Of course, at this point, that’s more speculation than fact, but there is some fact, and scouting there to say that it isn’t an absurd idea.

This is a high  risk situation for fantasy owners.  Things can change before the end of spring training to be sure, but for now I’m going to have to advise against over paying for Jose Reyes as one of your elite options.  If you can scare your fellow owners off and get him in the $25-$30 range, then go ahead and take the risk.  If not, let someone else gamble on his ability to be an elite performer, at best they will be overpaying for a stud, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.  However, there’s a huge risk that he will under perform, and a huge chunk of payroll will be wasted on a 2nd tier player.  These are the type of things that cost fantasy owner’s championships.

I just bumped my projections for Jose Reyes up this morning.  A .284 avg with 15 hr’s, 65 rbi’s, 101 runs, and 44 sb’s is what i think is reasonable at this point.  This puts him at about a $22 value.  I, like the rest of the fantasy world, will be watching him very closely this spring and will adjust my projections accordingly.

I have a feeling that Jose will be out to prove that he’s a much better player than those numbers suggest.  Here’s hoping!

Closing in on 25 years of following the greatest game in the world very closely. I can remember as a kid how excited I was when a player that I had watched in the minors make his major league debut. The same holds true today. We designed Baseball Instinct with that in mind; getting you the fan excited to get out and see the see the stars of tomorrow - today!


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