Jose Reyes will only get better

Originally Published: June 23, 2006
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Dipping into the ol' e-mail sack while wondering exactly when the Braves are going to make their big move toward third place...

Mark: Jose Reyes is in the midst of a hot streak and has gotten his average up to .287 and his OBP up to .350, which is about league average or better. I am not delusional to think that he can get it to .400 and I think that an OBP of .350 probably is a high-water mark for him. He is on pace for 139 runs scored and 73 stolen bases, and there is much debate in N.Y. as to whether he can be the long-term solution at the leadoff spot. My question is at what point does the stolen base and speed factor over a player's ability to get on base and remain the leadoff hitter. Last year, Reyes scored about 100 runs with a god-awful OBP (.300). Say, for instance, Reyes finished with a .320 OBP and 72 steals for this year. Where is the line drawn, and when is a player's ability to steal bases, to go from first to third (or first to home on a double), trumped by his OBP?

Rob Neyer: Well, let me be very clear about this: If Reyes can maintain a .350 on-base percentage, he's one hell of a player. I would argue that almost any shortstop with a .350 on-base percentage -- if he's got a decent glove and/or has more than just a touch of power -- is going to be a hell of a player. I happen to think the jury's still out on Reyes' defense, but the power's there so I don't have any argument with the guy.


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