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Reyes likely to hit leadoff when he returns

Mar 24, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

It’s unclear whether Jose Reyes will be able to make Opening Day — for what it’s worth I agree with the Post’s Joel Sherman that it would be folly to push him simply to make Opening Day  — but when he does return, Jerry Manuel says he’s likely to bat leadoff. This is a reversal of earlier plans to move Reyes down to the three spot while Carlos Beltran is out.  By putting Reyes back at the top of the order, Angel Pagan is likely to move way down — like to sixth or seventh — with Luis Castillo hitting second, David Wright third and Jason Bay cleanup.

The article says the change is because Reyes won’t have time to “to get comfortable hitting in more of a power spot” with which he is unaccustomed.  I don’t pretend to know more about lineup construction than Jerry Manuel does, but apart from stealing less, is batting third that terribly different from leading off? Reyes doesn’t become a different hitter simply because he’s batting third. He doesn’t gain power.  Hopefully he’s trying to get good pitches and drive the ball no matter where he hits. What, exactly, is there to become accustomed to?

  1. enough already - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    It is a big f***ing deal! Nah, I’ve just been looking for an excuse to say that all morning. I don’t get this either. But yet you see these guys be more productive if they hit say, 2nd instead of 8th. I like Reyes as lead off because it’s just so great to watch him steal a run out of nothing in the first inning. But why should his hitting change no matter where he hits?
    Captcha: use mixture. Maybe that’s advice for Jerry.

  2. Charles Gates - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Traditionally speaking, leadoff hitters are expected to take a few more pitches so the big boppers can get a preview of the pitcher’s stuff for that day. And to sniff out a walk, but remember I said ‘traditionally speaking.’ A 3-4 hitter should be more willing to jump on an early mistake with the expectation of driving the leadoff and #2 hitter around the bases. I’m sure there are stats available to see if JR, which what I started calling him seven words ago, actually takes pitches moreso than a Jason Bay, but I may have to chime in on this conference call so I can’t look them up.

  3. BC - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    What in the —- are they THINKING???!?! The guy’s biggest weapon is the stolen base! So you’d bat him third to completely kill that? C’mon…. And WHO EXACTLY would they bat leadoff instead of Reyes? Knowing Manuel he’d probably bat David Wright leadoff.
    I remember in ’86 Lenny Dykstra hitting some home runs in the playoffs, and the following three years he was a disaster, trying to hit home runs all the time. Completely screwed him up.

  4. Cartmaniac - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    “for what it’s worth I agree with the Post’s Joel Sherman that it would be folly to push him simply to make Opening Day”
    It would be a greater folly to start Alex Cora.
    Not every team has Elvis Andrus and Yunel Escobar at shortstop.

  5. Benny Blanco - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    BC, nails was allegedly on roids. Not really the same situation. I beleive the plan was to bat Castillo leadoff as he had a pretty decent OBP last year and has done it before. Im not saying im in favor of it.

  6. dayrunner - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    it could be a big deal if reyes tries to change his approach at the plate. he’d probably be up in more rbi opportunities. rhe’s only now becoming a little more selective and if he feels he has to be an rbi guy he could start trying to drive the ball and uppercutting. that’s not what he should be doing.

  7. Alex K - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    I’ve noticed that in the past Reyes does have a serious uppercut in his swing when he tries to hit HR’s. His main problem then is he doesn’t square the ball up with his uppercut, and it’s pop ups galore!

  8. BC - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Based on what I’ve read, Nails went on roids in the 92-93 offseason. He’d been so banged up. Then in ’93, voila, career year.

  9. Benny Blanco - Mar 24, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Touche…

  10. enough already - Mar 24, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    We’re all assuming that he’s going to change his approach based on where he is in the line up. I thought the whole point of this was the like the way he approaches hitting and would like it better batting third. I’m sticking with I like him batting 1st. But after the first inning, it doesn’t matter much anyway.

  11. Bob Walters - Mar 24, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Batting third is completely different than batting leadoff. The third place is reserved for your best hitter in the lineup while leadoff is a table setter for the rest of the line-up. Personally I feel like the Mets should hit Pagan 9th, the picher 8th, and Reyes leading off.

  12. dprat - Mar 24, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    So let’s think for a moment (yeah, don’t really feel like doing real work right now)… Reyes has 3651 career PAs. He’s played in 791 games. Let’s assume that he led off every one of those games… and subtract those 791 PAs from the total, leaving 2860 PAs. Of those, I imagine batting 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in an inning are roughly evenly distributed. I’m going to WAG it that the number of PAs batting 4th thru whatever (12th? 15th?) in an inning can’t equal the number of times one bats 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, combined. So let’s WAG again that of those 2860 PAs, Reyes has batted 3rd in an inning roughly 1/6th of the time. That makes roughly 440 times he’s batted 3rd in an inning. So that’s like the equivalent of 2/3rds of a full season.
    So, yeah, as Craig notes, what’s to become accustomed to?
    /work diversion

  13. Benny Blanco - Mar 25, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    What your not taking into consideration is who is batting before him? Batting third in an inning is not the same as batting third in the lineup. You pitcher batting ninth will be on base much less than the 2 hitter.
    The mentality of a leadoff hitter is – get on base and get something started. The mentality of a 3 hitter is – hope theres someone on base to bring him around or at least put them in scoring position for 4 and 5 hitters.

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