My name is Alex Spatt and I am one of the new writers for The Real Dirty Mets. I will be posting this intro on my first few posts to acquaint myself with you, our loyal readers, so get used to it. I was born and raised in Manhattan and am currently a Senior at Northwestern University. Like you, I love the Mets and (mostly) everything that comes with that. Unlike (most of) you, I will be writing about our boys – their ups, their downs, and everything in between. Whether you find yourself loving every word or disagreeing on the most fundamental levels, know that my ultimate goal is to provide not just an informative, but an entertaining look at the team we have all come to feel so passionately about. Your feedback is both welcomed and encouraged. On that note, let’s get to what you’re here for.
The Mets don’t score for R.A. The Mets don’t win in the division. The Mets aren’t good at home. We know. The Mets no longer have Carlos Beltran in the middle of the order. They don’t have K-Rod to close out games. Fine. But the biggest difference for the Mets of late, and the reason for their inconsistent play, is the performance of Jose Reyes.
Now look, it’s virtually impossible to play at the level he played at for the first half of the season…much less for an entire half of a season. His numbers garnered only one comparison and it was Ty Cobb. So to expect Jose to hit at a .350 clip while collecting extra base hits and multi-hit games at a rate faster than Adam Dunn collects K’s and no-hit games is obviously unrealistic.
Since returning from the DL, Reyes is hitting just .246. He has just four doubles and one triple in those 16 games. However, he does have two home runs. That he hit two home runs in just 16 games while he hit only three over his first 80 games is an indication of what becomes apparent when you watch him.
Where Wright has found extraordinary success by leveling out his swing and going the other way since his own return from injury, Reyes appears to be leaning on old, bad habits. He is using way more of an uppercut as of late and is swinging at bad pitches. One number in particular stands out and that number is 3.09.
Since returning from injury, Reyes is seeing just a paltry 3.09 pitches per plate appearance. That’s down from his season average – including the past 16 games because I’m too lazy to calculate the number for his first 80 games – of 3.57. So you have to figure it was somewhat higher before the 3.09 slump. What strikes me as bizarre is that even the 3.57 number is down from his career average and his lowest since his first two big league seasons. Regardless, he was clearly finding extraordinary success at that number earlier this year and all of a sudden, now seems impatient.
Reyes has admitted that he is lacking full confidence in the hammy since it sidelined him, despite being what he calls 100% healthy. Though I’m not sure how both can be true, the important thing is that his lack of confidence in his speed may be causing him to overcompensate. If he thinks his speed has been compromised – only two steals in the last 16 games vs. 30 in his first 80 – he may be more eager to drive the ball farther to avoid having to leg everything out. Hence the uppercut, hence the impatience, and hence the drop off.
Reyes would be best served doing what the Mets have become known for. Slow down, take a lot of pitches, work the count, and drive the mistakes to all parts of the field. That’s what we do when we’re at our best and certainly what Jose does when he’s at his. If he doesn’t find his form fast, it’s unlikely our offense will be much better than the nine runs we’ve scored over the last five games, all losses.
Do you notice anything different in Jose’s approach since his return from the DL?