2010 Postmortem: Shortstop

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Jose Reyes entered spring training 2010 hopeful to put his injury-riddled 2009 behind him and ready to unleash hell on the National League. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid gland in early March and doctors recommended stopping all baseball activities. Despite missing the final month of the preseason, he made his debut the first weekend of the regular season. Things didn't go so well that first month -- Jose's April slash line of .235/.295/.325 is a testament to that. However, if we play the arbitrary cutoff game, his line from May 11th (one month after his regular season debut) through the end of the season was a respectable .295/.329/.458. I usually don't care for such discounting of a stretch of performance but I think it applies here. That first month was basically his own personal spring training. Jose had his worst offensive season since 2005, per rate statistics -- and still finished with the fourth best wOBA among qualified MLB shortstops. It's a nice reminder about positional scarcity and how hard it is to find productive hitters at premium positions.

Jose's defense seemed to take a step back this season, unsurprising given the nature of his injuries. He still has one of the best shortstop arms in the game and with a strong set of legs under him in 2011 I'm confident his range will rebound. The three-time stolen base champ swiped 30 bases in 40 attempts, good for a marginally useful 75% success rate. I've long felt that excessive basestealing played a role in his fading down the stretch in past seasons so hopefully he attempts ~50 stolen bases next year rather than ~85.

The hopeful fanboy in me looks at Jose's 2010 much like that 2005 season. It was a chance for him to get healthy in preparation for a breakout campaign. His legs are in shape again, so he can focus on working out his whole body this offseason. If he can rediscover how to draw walks, a reasonable 2011 projection is something like .285/.345/.440. Combine that line with average-ish defense and he'd be worth more than the no-brainer $11 million option the Mets will certainly pick up.

There's not much to say about the other shortstops -- Ruben Tejada and Alex Cora were covered in the second base postmortem. Luis Hernandez and Joaquin Arias have no future with the big club. I will simply add that Cora was the Opening Day shortstop, meaning he will forever be an answer to a "Mets Opening Day Lineups" Sporcle quiz, along with Gary Matthews Jr., Jeff Francoeur and Mike Jacobs. Much like I never forget that Anderson Hernandez was the 2006 Opening Day second baseman, the memory of Cora, GMJ, Frenchy and Jacobs in 2010 will likely stay with me forever.

Desired 2011 starting shortstop: Jose Reyes

Projected 2011 starting shortstop: Jose Reyes

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