Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For those fantasy owners who took the chance on drafting New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes despite last year's injury problems, this year's hyperthyroid condition and a mediocre 2008 season, (his last full year of ball) today is the day you have been waiting for all spring.
Reyes is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday afternoon and bat in his customary leadoff position.
The Mets' shortstop had his best statistical season in 2006 when he contributed in all five categories. He batted .300, scored 122 runs, hit 19 HR, knocked in 81 runs and stole 64 bases. The next season he was a top-five fantasy selection, but didn't quite live up to the high expectations. Instead of improving, Reyes dropped in four of the five categories. He was still a top-five choice in 2008 and although he put up solid numbers, didn't justify his high draft pick.
Last year was a complete disaster for Reyes fantasy owners as he played just 36 games before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a leg injury.
So with all these areas working against him, it was a little surprising that Reyes was drafted as high as he was this spring. Despite all the "red flags" Reyes had a preseason ADP of 32 - a middle third-round pick in a basic 12-team league. That put him behind just Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki and Jimmy Rollins and ahead of Derek Jeter, Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett.
It seems strange that fantasy owners would be willing to gamble on Reyes rather than take a sure thing in Jeter or the combination of power (27 HR in 2009) and speed (17 SB) they could get from Zobrist.
Either fantasy owners are loyal to a fault, live in the past, or believe that Reyes will return to the days when he was a star. I'm not sure that will happen, at least not this season.
The Mets aren't the same team they were when Reyes was putting up his best season in 2006. Gone from that team were veterans Carlos Delgado (38 HR, 114 RBI), Cliff Floyd, Paul LoDuca, Jose Valentin and Xavier Nady. Carlos Beltran (41 HR, 116 RBI) is a shell of his former self and won't return from offseason surgery for quite a while.
The "new" Mets still have David Wright and brought in Jason Bay from the Red Sox, but will not be as reliable in knocking Reyes in as the 2006 version was. The bottom of the order will not be as productive. And the new home ball park is not "homer-friendly." I see Reyes scoring about 80-85 runs and stealing 45 bases, but with less than double-digit homers and around 50 RBI. That's not third-round draft choice value.
Jose Reyes Career Statistics