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Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JOSE REYES SS TORONTO BLUE JAYS

                                     José Reyes

Sometimes when it comes to evaluating a given fantasy baseball hitter or pitcher, you have to do your best to change with the statistical times.  A player is different numbers-wise in their twenties than their thirties as age begins to take a toll and rob away athleticism.  This trend is more pronounced in a hitter, especially one whose major part of their games comes on the strength of their speed.  Such as the case of Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes who is changing right before our eyes and has been for a few years now when it comes to his statistical output and profile as a player in general.  As Reyes turns 32 this June, that trend will only continue on unabated.  So with all that said, let's check in again on Reyes as the 2015 season gets into focus.

Seemingly around forever, Reyes enters into his 13th major league season in 2014 once again setting the table as the leadoff man for the high-octane batting lineup for the Blue Jays.  As any leadoff man would need to have, Reyes remains fleet of foot as a menace on the basepaths.  It is that part of the game where Reyes still makes most of his impact and his hay as a prime fantasy baseball batter.  2014 was no different as Reyes stole 30 bases while only getting caught twice.  He also scored 94 runs and batted a solid .287.  Typical Reyes in other words.  Right on down to the first week DL stint that reminded us yet again of how fragile his body can be, especially now that he plays half of his games on the unforgiving turf of Rogers Center.  However as always we look a bit deeper at the numbers and notice some trends that are becoming clear. 

The first trend is the speed which again is still excellent but at the same time has been slipping.  Gone forever are the days when Reyes stole an insane 60 or more basis which he did three seasons in a ow from 2005 through 2007.  That is when the leg injuries began to hit however and other than a 56 stolen base 2008, Reyes never swiped more than 40 bags since.  Putting this into more clarity, Reyes went from 40 steals in 2012, to 15 in 2013 (an injury-marred campaign that had him on a pace for only 26), and than last season's 30.  The new norm for Reyes with the stolen base is now likely 30 and some more slippage could likely come in 2015 as he is now another year older and playing yet another half season on the turf which is murder on a player's legs.  For someone with a long injury history like Reyes, the threat of more DL stints in 2015 is monstrous as well which adds to his chances of being a bust. 

As far as the rest of the numbers are concerned, Reyes has remained a guy capable of between 9-14 home runs and around the requisite 50 RBI a leadoff guy typically gets.  If he can scratch out 550 at-bats, Reyes also should be around 90 runs which is the benchmark area code statistically for leadoff guys.  Finally, Reyes is a career .291 hitter who has settled right around that mark the last three seasons and that is pretty much where he will likely remain for a bit until more erosion sets into his hitting. 

When you consider how shallow shortstop is, it is no shock that Reyes remains a guy who will likely be drafted in the third or fourth round.  His name has become a bit radioactive over the years given all the injuries but again Reyes playing well at a very rough spot like shortstop ensures he will not come at a bargain.  We always advise against drafting speed-oriented players as they pass 30 and we will stick by that assessment for this case.  Great career but Reyes is one big ulcer as you await the next injury. 

2015 PROJECTION:  .290 10 HR 54 RBI 95 R 28 SB

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