FanPost

Looking Closer at Jose Reyes's Offensive Struggles

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In 146 plate appearances and 32 games this year, Jose Reyes has a slash line of .215/.267/.289 with a wOBA of .260, far from his career line of .284/.335/.429 coming off an injury-plagued 2009.  Some point to the fact that he hasn't fully adjusted yet because he had missed a such a significant portion of the time.  Others may point to his low BABIP of .252, which seems poised to rise.  His 5.5% walk rate is also troubling, lowest since 2005, and coupled with with a career high 15.6% strikeout rate, his plate discipline seems troubling.  I'll try to see what could be causing most of his problems.

People may have expected Reyes to take some time to get back to his old, dynamic self, but not many have expected him to take this long and perform this poorly.  I'll start off with the luck factor.  As stated, his low BABIP of .252 seems to be a large contributor to his lack of results.  This can be attributed to his lack of line drives (13.9% rate) and his ridiculously high amount of infield fly-balls (19.1% rate; line drives result in a ridiculously high batting average, and infield flies are about as sure of an out as an out can get.  His other batted ball rates otherwise seem fine.  Looking at this only, we could assume that Reyes will start to improve as the season progresses.

Of course, we can't just look at those statistics and assume everything is just bad luck.  His plate discipline has been a huge problem so far this year, walking rarely and striking out very often (relatively speaking to his career).  He has swung at 35.5% of pitches outside the zone and whiffed on 7.8% of pitches, quite higher than his career whiff rate of 6.3%.  He's still making contact on pitches outside the zone at 73.5% of the time, but of course, when he swings so often, he won't be able to walk much or find better pitches to hit.

Let's take a look at some of his PITCHf/x charts for the season.

 

Fastballs:

Swingingffphp_medium

Nothing seems to be too whack here, but note that a lot of the pitches not in the strike zone that he's swung at are still relatively close.  There are a few swings he's taken, though, that are pretty wide of the strike zone.  I wouldn't really look too closely into them quite yet.

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Reyes has taken a good amount of fastballs here.  Comparing this to the fastballs he's swung at, he's done a pretty good job of laying off of fastballs when they're not all that close, while he's taken about just as many borderline pitches as he's swung at.  Note, though, that a lot of the borderline pitches he hasn't swung at but taken are somewhat down.

 

Sliders:

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If we shifted all of the sliders Reyes has swung out up about about a foot, things would look pretty darn good.  He's not swinging at many sliders that are up in the strike zone, while he's swinging at a bunch that are below the zone and that are getting close to the dirt.  He's also swung at some that have been away from him, assuming most of them have come from him batting lefty.  He hasn't been whiffing on many sliders, though; his whiff rate on them is only 5.7%.

 

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Aside from the down sliders, he's basically avoided most sliders he can't hit and taken some in the zone.  He seems to not be able to lay off or differentiate between sliders that are down and away or inside, however.  Not good.  Keep this in mind.

 

Curveballs:

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Same thing as the sliders.  Swinging at pitches in or right by the zone as well as a clutter of pitches that are well down.  Uh-oh.

Takingcuphp_medium

Again, same exact thing.  He's ignoring the curves out of the zone, and he seems ambivalent about low curves.

 

Changeups (you probably get the point now already but for further reinforcement):

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One thing to note specifically about changeups is that he's whiffed at 17.4% of these, so, uh, yeah.  Problem.

 

We can safely conclude that Reyes is having a lot of problems with low pitches, generally swinging at half of them.  This is probably causing the problems regarding his line drive and infield fly rates- hitters aren't going to be able to hit low pitches hard too often while pop-ups occur regularly when they are hit.  I'd guess that Reyes is lunging at the off-speed pitches quite often.  I don't expect him to have much better results until he starts recognizing the low pitches and begins to lay off of them.  His contact with them is poor, he'll whiff on them more often, and he's going to be creating strikes instead of balls. 

(edit; I completely forgot to add this part  in before I clicked post)

His .074 ISO (no home runs either) has also been greatly affected lately, for the reasons previously mentioned.  Few of the balls he's put in plays have gone far at all:

Spray-chartphp_medium

 

Also, this my first fanpost so don't shoot me if some stuff is stupid.  I honestly don't know all too much, so feel free to point out some of my errors.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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