After failing to reach double digits in home runs for two straight seasons, Jose Reyes has gone yard three times and hit a pair of doubles in his first six games back with the Mets. Although a home run every other game is almost certainly unsustainable, hitting coach Kevin Long thinks Reyes can continue to be a force out of the box.
“I would consider him more in his prime than old,” Long told the New York Post. “He can still run and in [batting practice], his hands are always still lightning-quick and the ball jumps off the bat.”
Long said he is still getting acquainted with Reyes, but he’s been watching video since the Mets signed the 33-year-old shortstop and veterans are easier to work with than young players. His current swing is “very similar” to his old one, Long said, although he has pointed out changes that helped Reyes improve after an 0-for-4 season debut.
“Left-handed, he was going with a little leg kick and I asked why he was going away from something he’d been doing his whole career,” Long said. “He said he was just trying it. In his last at-bat left-handed in his second game, he did the toe-tap that he used to do and hit a ball sharp to the gap.”
Although Reyes’s power tailed off in the final years of his first New York stint, he ranked fifth among all major league shortstops in home runs in 2006 and ranked tenth among all shortstops from 2006 to 2008. As a prospect, too, Reyes was projected to hit for modest power.
More statistical analyses are less bullish on the 33-year-old. ZiPS projects him to hit three long balls over the remainder of the season and hit .263/.307/.382.