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Jose Reyes: The Mets' "Inside Man"

by Michael B. Dowd

By now, I'm sure you've read that despite Jose Reyes' progress in Florida, the New York Mets' star shortstop will most likely not be ready for Opening Day on April 5.

But when he comes back, we can expect a new phase of Reyes' game that will be helped by the massively spacious Citi Field ... fans, enjoy the beautiful second-year Mets ballpark and all it has to offer: great concessions, Play Station games, a water-dunking booth and tons of other activities outside... but the most enjoyable part of Citi Field will be inside - as in inside-the-park home runs.

Since breaking into the big leagues in 2003, the Amazin's speedster and leadoff hitter has averaged more than 10 triples per year. And his 17 three-baggers in 2005 and 2006 - as well as his 19 triples in 2008 - led the league each time.

Shea Stadium's gaps in left-center and right-center were both 371 feet deep. Citi field is eight feet deeper in left center at 379 ... while right-center gives Reyes 12 extra feet at 383. And Reyes, injured for most of 2009, did not get the opportunity to benefit from a multitude of at-bats at Citi.

With most pitchers being righties, Reyes, naturally, will get more at-bats from the left side ... and because he's mostly a pull hitter, his potential triples to right-center can and will become inside-the-parkers.

When Jose is rounding second and heading to third, he will not always pull up or slide to secure three bags. He should be getting the "go" sign to round third and come around to score. My prediction: instead of 17 triples, I think we'll see 12 three-baggers and five inside-the-park homers.

In the 1990's, there was a popular ad campaign featuring actress Heather Locklear and now-disgraced slugger Mark McGwire. "Chicks dig the longball," was the slogan - to promote the sudden burst in home runs hit across MLB.

In 2010, the Mets universe, male and female fans alike, will savor the shortball.

2 comments:

  1. Your idea is right, but I'm not sure the numbers are. I don't think 17 triples will translate to 12 triples and 5 inside-the-park home runs. It's tough to gauge how many times Jose will be able to round the bases without the long ball, and 5 isn't a bad estimate, but a more likely side effect is that many of his doubles will turn into triples, which will cause the amount of triples he hits to rise significantly, not fall.

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  2. Thanks for writing, Bryan. Should be fun to watch Jose. As a huge Mets fan, I hope he hits at least 5. Jose Reyes triples used to be the most exciting hits to watch in NYC. Witnessing Jose's I.T.P's will surpass that hopefully. Maybe I just created a new initial-description for a stat (like RBI). ITP (for inside-the-parkers) :)

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