Feb. 19.10: Manuel likes Reyes third.

Manager Jerry Manuel, in talking to the press for the first time this spring, said he likes the idea of batting Jose Reyes third. I don’t understand why you’d want to take arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game and tinker with him.

REYES: Leave him alone.

REYES: Leave him alone.


Reyes, if he works on his game – bunting, hitting the ball on the ground, drawing more walks – could become one of the game’s all-time leadoff hitters. A modern day Rickey Henderson, perhaps.

The numbers suggest leaving him where he is. Over the past three seasons, Reyes is batting .293 leading off an inning and .295 with nobody on base. Conversely, he is batting .267 with RISP, .230 with RISP and two outs, and .205 with the bases loaded.

The offensive criticism of Reyes is he sometimes plays outside his game, and once he hits a home run or two starts swinging for the fences, which is away from his strength. Why put him into a slot in the order where he could become prone to bad habits?

The reasons I can fathom moving Reyes to third are two-fold, 1) the Mets don’t expect Carlos Beltran back soon, and 2) the Mets are more worried about Reyes’ running and speed than they are willing to admit.

For years, we’ve been told Reyes was the ignition to the offense, that as he goes so do the Mets. But, that was predicated on him batting leadoff. I have been critical of Reyes at times, but that’s when he takes plays off. However, the Mets’ inability to win since 2006 have nothing to do with him.

Another way to look at this are to examine the other options. There’s nobody comparable to Reyes as a leadoff hitter, but David Wright is capable of hitting third, followed by Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur. It’s not Philly, but it is a good 3-4-5.

There’s plenty of issues with this team, tinkering with Reyes shouldn’t be one of them.

17 thoughts on “Feb. 19.10: Manuel likes Reyes third.

  1. Good to see that Manuel never forgets any of his bad ideas. Actually, if Reyes’ legs need to be babied some, I would bat him third until Beltran came back to cut down on his steals. That’s the only way I’d do it.

  2. Ridiculous. I guess Omir Santos is the Mets new leadoff hitter. Why any manager would want to remove a two-time MLB steals champ from the leadoff position is beyond any reasonable explanation. Everyone from the manager on up on this team has lost their damn minds.

  3. i hated this when i first read it..then kinda got it…now i dunno

    catillo can NOT bat 8th…it is a waste

    he has to be 1,2, or 9…id have no problem with him 9th

    so jerry is saying
    castillo
    pagan
    reyes
    wright
    bay
    frenchy
    murphy
    barajas (minor league deal i read???)
    P

    when healthy does reyes move back to the 1 spot…give him consistency, one or the other
    he would see more fastballs in the 3 spot, but his speed at the top of the order is something that this team needs

  4. reyes
    castillo
    beltran
    bay
    wright
    frenchy
    murphy
    barajas
    P

    i kinda like that
    or
    reyes
    murphy
    beltran
    bay
    wright
    frenchy
    barajas (i hope)
    P
    castillo

    i like castillo in the 9 spot to turn it over and set the table for jose

  5. french and barajas- dont love them being 6 and 7
    franceour worries me, i could see him turning back into the K machine

  6. jose should bat first.

    i dont want him to be ricky who only thinks of himself.

    i also dont want him to set a steal record. I want him to steal. a lot. i just dont want to wear him out.

  7. I don’t think this is about his legs. I think the Mets are betting that, if given a steady diet of fastballs (which could be the case if hitting ahead of Wright and Bay with runners on), Reyes will morph into a modern-day Roberto Alomar: 200 hits, 30 doubles, 20 triples, 100 ribbies and 40 steals.

    Outside of his wasted years (and effort) with the Mets, Alomar was one of the toughest outs in baseball for a long time. I think the Mets see Reyes as more than just a lead-off hitter, but as someone who, like Alomar, could dictate the game from the number-three hole.

  8. I don’t think I like the idea of Reyes hitting 3rd. I guess it could be good in the way of giving him more responsibility, maybe develop some other parts of his game, but I don’t think its the best plan for the overall team at the moment.

    But I agree with most of what John said. Though Pagan actually performed very well in the leadoff role last yr, I think its safe to say that Reyes is the best leadoff hitter on the team. I also think at this point both Wright and Bay are better hitters than Reyes and better suited to hit 3rd. Lengthening the lineup is always nice, but the idea of having a good deep lineup, is having a lot of good hitters in your lineup. Deepening the lineup by just moving your higher quality players down in the lineup and your lower quality players (that would have been hitting 7th or 8th) up in the lineup, doesn’t improve the team.

    I like to see what Reyes and Pagan could do a 1-2. Though if the Mets are insistent on hitting Castillo at the top of the lineup, it might be worth hitting him leadoff and Reyes 2nd. Reyes would still be in more of a “catalyst” type position, but would get a few more RBI opps. Castillo does have a better OBP than Reyes, and if he’s hitting in front of Jose, we wouldn’t have to deal with his incessant bunting and giving up outs.

  9. *The Kiss of Death*

    Just saw jerry say Murph was the person the team saw as the starter.

    In Jerry speak this means Murphy will be ripped publicly and will not sniff the field.

  10. Castillo’s ONLY value in the line-up is at the top, where he can get on in front of the RBI guys. Pagan and Luis made a solid 1-2 last year, and I can see reversing them (taking advantage of Angel’s gap power), but either way it makes sense to leave them ahead of Jose while Beltran is out.

    And until Jose has shown he’s fully healed, I want him stealing only when needed. He may be capable of 80+ steals, but I’d settle for 40 if they’re meaningful and keep him strong and healthy.

  11. 14. That’s why the manager batted Castillo 8th for a good deal of the season last year. His value was elsewhere.

  12. Depends on what you mean by “good deal”. He batted 8th in 24 G, and did very well in the spot, but it was wasted.

    Batting Order PositionsSHARE SHARE [X] · CSV · PRE · LINK · Direct Link
    Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+

    Batting 8th 24 23 84 71 10 23 3 1 0 7 1 1 11 7 .324 .415 .394 .809 28 0 0 2 0 3 2 .359 121 132

  13. 15. Of course batting him 8th was a waste. Everyone but the “genius” knew that going in. The “genius” turned on Murphy, and suddenly it was OK for Castillo to bat # 2.