Around the Horn – Shortstop
February 9, 2010
We finally arrive at a position that is crucial to the Mets’ success in 2010. In fact, other than starting pitching, no other position carries as much importance as shortstop. That is because this is one of the rare positions on this team that has the potential to be filled by one of the best in the game.
Jose Reyes – You know this guy, don’t you? Well, you once did at least. It seems like light years ago when he was a potential MVP candidate. Let’s put on our thinking caps and try to remember what kind of player he was.
Let us set aside the fact that he was one of the fastest players in the league. Everyone knows that. He was also a pretty good line drive hitter with good bat speed. This led to three plus seasons of at least 17 triples. He also reached a high of 72 extra base hits in 2008. Those are pretty serious numbers. From the time that he was called up in 2003, Jose showed immediately what he could bring to the table. He brought that speed, combined it with above average range, and sprinkled in a top notch throwing arm. If you tally that all up, the end result is a solid all-star player. Now wait a second. It doesn’t end there. We have yet to discuss the intangible factor. I am talking about the distraction he was when he was on the bases. He would drive the opposing pitcher insane whenever he took a lead off any base. This automatically made any hitter in the box for the Mets much more productive. Jose Reyes was certainly a force to be reckoned with.
I wrote the previous paragraph in past tense for one important reason. I do not think anyone has any idea whether Reyes will ever regain his all-star form. His injury to his hamstring was rather serious. It required surgery (well, it did based on at least one doctor’s opinion). To simply write this off due to blind optimism or because Jose or the Mets assure you that he is healthy would be like walking through a mine field with blinders on while someone tells you that the coast is clear.
Don’t get me wrong. I for one would like nothing better than to see Jose rebound. There may be those of you who view me as a pessimist, and therefore might disagree with this. “Come on, you are so negative about the Mets that you probably want Jose to get hurt just to show that you are right.” I urge you reader to be a bit more objective about me. As I stated in a previous post, I feel that he was one of the most exciting players I have seen as a life long Met fan. I would love to have the opportunity to watch him again. I do think we need to temper our enthusiasm. That is all.
Finally, I firmly believe that the Mets’ success will depend heavily on this man’s health perhaps more than any other player on the team short of Johan Santana.
Alex Cora and Anderson Hernandez – See second base analysis. If a combination of these two plays shortstop for more than 25 games in 2010, it will be another lost season for the Mets. Keep your fingers crossed. Whether you believe me or not, I have mine crossed as well.