by Ray Kuhn
There are some cases in which talent alone is not enough. Generally talent wins out and eventually results in regular playing time, but depth charts are something all fantasy owners need to be aware of. In this scenario Jose Reyes is the beneficiary, as he likely will outperform his current ADP of 302.
Not too long ago hewas an early round fantasy selection. Back in 2012 Reyes stole 40 bases while playing shortstop. He was a dynamic player providing elite production while playing a position in which the talent level dropped off rather quickly. Flash forward to 2017 and shortstop is a much deeper position. It doesn’t necessarily matter for Reyes, as he only has eligibility at third base and his days of 40 stolen bases in a season are behind him.
The plan for Reyes was to be a super-utility player seeing time across both the infield and the outfield, similar to how the Chicago Cubs deploy Ben Zobrist. While he didn’t have a set position, playing time likely was not going to be an issue due to his versatility and the Mets need for him as their lead-off hitter. However not having a set position often makes fantasy owners uneasy. Thanks to David Wright’s latest and unfortunate shoulder issues, Reyes now will be a regular in the Mets lineup batting first and playing third base.
Thanks to his versatility there is still the possibility that he gains in season eligibility at other positions (likely shortstop), which will only benefit him. For now we will simply view him as a third baseman as the timetable for Wright’s return is unclear, though at this point we really can’t expect too much from him (and it’s possible he spends his time across the diamond at first base). So that makes Reyes not only an everyday player, but a very valuable commodity batting atop what projects to be a very strong, and deep lineup.
After not playing the first two months of the season following his suspension and spending time in the minor leagues, along with learning a new position, Reyes had 255 AB with the Mets. His stats in that span were respectable, but not what championships are made of, with a .267 batting average, 8 HR, 24 RBI and 9 SB. If we are conservative and give him 500 AB for ’17, although at the same time there is no guarantee he makes it thorough the season healthy, his performance (at the same pace as last season), becomes a little more appealing. Given the outside variables he had to deal with along with the late start, that is a pace I can see him exceeding.
In 2015 Reyes stole 24 bases with 481 AB while walking 5% of the time. That was a sizable decrease from 9% in 2012 and 8% in 2013, but he did rebound last season and walk 9%. Per Baseball HQ’s Speed Index 2015 was a down year for Reyes (113) and he rebounded to 141 last season, so there is minimal concern about him losing his speed. As a team, the Mets aren’t the most active on the base paths, so they could look to Reyes to create some additional offense.
Last season his contact rate was above average, 82%, but it was also lower than the roughly 88% we had grown accustomed to seeing over the past few seasons. Even a slight improvement in that, plus potentially a few more walks, means Reyes’ on base percentage from last season of .315 should climb back to the .328 it was in 2014. That, coupled with the Mets’ lineup, could mean 80+ runs scored.
Reyes certainly is no longer an elite option, but he is a legitimate fantasy contributor. There’s no reason why we can’t see 10-15 home runs, 20-25 steals, 80 runs scored to go along with a .260 batting average. That is worth more than an ADP of 302 as there is also some upside.
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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17