Let’s get one thing crystal-clear: Jose Reyes is one of my favorite MLB players. There are few other current MLBers who I would prefer to watch if given the choice. That said, I’m thrilled he has a chance to become the first-ever New York Met to win a National League batting title — he’s currently hitting .331 to league-leader Ryan Braun’s .333, and anything can happen in the final three games of the year.
However, there is one situation where I am rooting against Reyes in this race: if it means that Matt Kemp rushes past both Reyes and Braun and wins the title and becomes the first NL Triple Crown winner since Joe Medwick in 1937.
But, my baseball fandom supersedes my passion for the Mets, so you may feel differently. The way I see it, there is a better chance of a Met winning a batting title in my lifetime than a player winning the Triple Crown — after all, it’s been almost 75 years since it’s happened last.
The odds are stacked against Kemp, since at .324 he’s .009 points behind Braun and .007 behind Reyes. That doesn’t seem like a big number, but at this point in the season batting averages don’t alter very much. For example, if Braun goes through his final three games 0-for-12, he’ll still finish the year at .325 — .001 ahead of Kemp’s current percentage. So it will take slumps by both Braun and Reyes, as well as a hot streak by Kemp, to make it happen. Oh, and one more thing: Kemp is tied with Albert Pujols for the NL lead in homeruns with 37. So either that is going to have to stay the same or Kemp will need to out-homer Pujols in the final three games. Finally, there is the RBI title, which Kemp leads with 120 but doesn’t have entirely “in the bag”, since in second place is Ryan Howard with 115.
Will Matt Kemp pull it off? Unlikely. But I will be rooting for him — even if it means the Mets won’t have their first batting title winner.
What about you? Would you rather see Jose Reyes win the batting title, or witness Matt Kemp win the Triple Crown? Answer in the comments.
About the Author
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.