Who Is Jeremy Reed and Other Mysteries

jeremy-reed-nohatQuick quiz: who is the man in the picture to the left?

I’ll give you a few hints:

1. He was part of the trade with Seattle that brought J.J. Putz and Sean Green to New York.

2. He led the team in batting average during spring training.

3. He’s currently .313 and has played excellent defense in the outfield.

4. For about a 48-hour period, he was the team’s starting first baseman.

Give up?

Maybe you (and Jerry Manuel) would recognize him if he were wearing his Mets cap. His name is Jeremy Reed, and despite his .313 average and .343 OBP, he has come to the plate only 13 times this month. Strangely enough, he has watched from the sidelines while the team has struggled offensively. Strangely enough, he has sat on the bench despite displaying the athleticism and running speed ideal for Citi Field and the new-look, no-power, “go-go Mets”. Strangely enough, it is Reed riding the pine while the slap-hitting, slow-running Danny Murphy gets one opportunity after another to stay in the lineup. Strangely enough, Manuel has it in his head that Reed “can’t hit lefties”, despite the fact he is 4-for-4 against them thus far this season. Strangely enough, it is youngsters such as Murphy and Fernando Martinez getting the chance to be the Mets future while the “old” Reed bides his time (Reed turned an aging 28 a few days ago).

Tonight, Jerry Manuel has written out yet another lineup that does not include Jeremy Reed. Against righthander Andy Sonnanstine, the Mets will have Gary Sheffield in left field, Ryan Church in right, Carlos Beltran in center, and Murphy at first base.

Murphy, in fact, is batting second in the order, due to — according to Manuel — his patience at the plate. Manuel likes that Murphy is disciplined and “sees a lot of pitches”. What doesn’t make sense, of course, is that Luis Castillo is batting eighth. For those unaware, Castillo is second in the NL in pitches per plate appearance with 4.40. Murphy is 36th with 3.97. Additionally, Castillo has a .375 OBP, 7 stolen bases, and 6 sacrifice bunts, while Murphy is sporting a .323 OBP, 1 stolen base, and 3 sacrifices. I bring up these particular stats because they are ideal attributes of a #2 hitter. But Manuel has admitted that he doesn’t look too much at the stats. After all, they can’t tell him much about what a ballplayer is likely to do on any given day — he likes to watch BP to get a sense of where guys should go. So I guess Murphy did a great job of watching pitches go by during batting practice this afternoon. Similarly, Jeremy Reed must really be stinking it up in his BP sessions lately.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude June 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm
    I knew Jerry wouldn’t wait long to give us a true reason to smash his head into a wall. It didn’t make sense in spring training, it didn’t make sense on opening day, it didn’t make sense when Castillo got off to a roaring start, and it didn’t make sense when Murphy fell into his slump. And it still doesn’t make sense to bat Murphy 2nd and Castillo 8th. Perhaps moreso now than ever. I’m a Murphy fan and am in Jerry’s corner when it comes to keeping Murphy’s playing time at a maximum until Delgado returns, but Murphy should be hitting no higher than 6th or 7th in the lineup, and Castillo no lower than 2nd. It seems like Jerry has a very hard time getting past last year’s statistics, when Murphy was an on-base machine and Castillo looked completely lost at the plate. But those roles have reversed this year, yet Jerry insists on batting them in the same places they were in in 2008. It seems more and more like Jerry is the stubborn old man on the block, stuck in his ways of evaluating a person within the first 10 seconds he meets them and determining right then and there whether he’s going to like them for the rest of his life or not. That’s why, for unbeknownst reasons to the rest of us, guys like Church, Reed, Stokes, and Castillo continue to get shitted on by Jerry despite solid contributions and good work ethics.

    With FMart getting sent to the minors, Reed deserves 50-75% of the starts in LF against RHP until Angel Pagan resurfaces. Reed’s earned that responsibility, and it’s obvious Gary Sheffield can’t handle any less. If Reed excels, all is good. If he stumbles, Pagan will be back in 2 weeks time, and FMart’s always waiting in the wings. But leave it to Jerry to play Shef until his leg falls off, and continue to give Reed as many splinters on his derriere as possible.

  2. 2009 Analysis: Jeremy Reed : Mets Today November 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm
    […] But for whatever reason, Reed was underused and seemingly underappreciated by manager Jerry Manuel. […]