Jose Reyes Back in Action
If you’re just crawling out from under a rock, Jose Reyes’ thyroid levels have settled to normalcy and the Most Exciting Player On The Planet has been officially cleared for “baseball activities”.
I think we can all agree — this is good news, and it’s wonderful to finally receive some legitimately good news out of Port St. Lucie.
At the same time, I must point out that it may take some time for Jose to get back “into the swing” (pardon the pun). He was completely sedentary — meaning, no running, no hitting, no nothing other than casual walking — for the past three weeks. It generally takes an athlete 2-3 weeks of inactivity to fall “out of shape” — meaning, loss of developed cardiovascular levels and overall condition. That said, Reyes will likely need some time to get back “into shape”.
Since Reyes was in top-notch condition before the thyroid issue, he should be back in action relatively quickly. But, “quickly” could mean as long as 3-4 weeks … maybe even 5-6. Though, I doubt highly that the Mets would hold him out for more than two weeks into the season. But if they do, I am completely OK with waiting until, say, May 1 before seeing him in an MLB game. Particularly with Carlos Beltran out, I’d much rather err on the side of caution and wait an extra week or two — knowing that when Reyes comes back, he’s 100%.
Another point: Reyes tends to have weak finishes to seasons. So maybe getting March and April off will allow him to play at full hilt and peak performance from May through the end of September.
See? Even a purported “negative” Mets fan such as myself can find the silver lining.
With about a week and a half until opening day the question is will we see Jose Reyes in a spring game before then? If he plays, say the last weekend of games, won’t fans be confused as to why he is capable of playing spring games but not real ones? Maybe but I still expect to see him before the spring is out. Also it is a fair point, but I don’t think that starting his clock later (ie May 1) will result in a better Jose Reyes in September. I think him batting third and stealing less bases (and not playing every game of the season) will have a more profound impact.
Jose Reyes is not a 30 HR, 100 RBI guy, which are the stats you prototypically want from your #3 hitter. He is not Hanley Ramirez. Thus, you are doing him and your team a disservice by plugging him into a spot in the order he’s not accustomed to and he’s not fit for, while also further meddling with the lineup by inserting lesser talented and appropriate hitters in Reyes’ vacated leadoff spot.
I believe that the number 2 spot in the order is proven to be the most important because it gets the most at bats with men on base throughout the season. I believe the clean up spot is the spot that gets the most at bats with runners in scoring position and thus your best hitter goes there. 3 should be a power hitter because he appears more times with a runner on first or no one on the most of the top 5 hitters in the lineup so a double or HR is more valuable there. And the 5th spot should be a guy capable of stealing a base to get in scoring position for the lesser hitters below him or knocking one deep for extra bases and RBIs. So yeah, my opinion of the ideal starting lineup is not exactly the most common.
You should try reading The Book http://www.amazon.com/dp/1597971294?tag=tangotiger-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1597971294&adid=0BTXRHCN3SHMEKYJZ1QZ&
which challenges the ideas of the traditional lineup among other things.
1 highest on base
2 best hitter overall preference to speed
3 comes to the plate with two outs more often than other top-of-the-order spots, limiting its production, so high SLG is important. Best pure power hitter not the 2 or 4 hitter goes here.
4 most chance with runners on base, best hitter may go here, preference to power
5 best remaining hitter preference to speed because again you want to be able to get into scoring position for lesser hitters below.
6-9 fill in by preference typically best to worst, but The Book is a fan of the “second leadoff hitter” theory. I’m not personally, so pitcher is 9.
So no, I’m not crazy, there is a method to my madness, but I’m not alone.