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2017 Mets Season Review: After a brutal start, Jose Reyes finished the year strong

The longtime Met played five different positions and had a productive second half.

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Reyes had an up-and-down year for the Mets—or, more precisely, a year that started down and finished up. After a miserable first half in which he hit .215/.284/.370 (74 wRC+), Reyes rebounded with an excellent .288/.356/.472 (121 wRC+) line the rest of the way.

Going into the year, the Mets’ plan was to use Reyes as a utility infielder. Due to a series of injuries and trades, however, Reyes became an everyday player, appearing in 145 games at second, third, and short. He even got a few innings in left and center field.

Despite his dreadful start, Reyes finished with pretty respectable counting numbers. For example, his 15 home runs, 58 RBIs, 75 runs scored, 25 doubles, seven triples, and 24 stolen bases all look good on the back of a baseball card. That said, his rate stats—.246/.315/.413 (94 wRC+)—indicate that he was slightly below league average offensively.

There’s actually an interesting discrepancy as to how good of a year Reyes had overall. According to Fangraphs, Reyes was a solid two-win player. If you look at his Baseball-Reference page, however, you’ll see a terrible -0.6 WAR total.

The main reason for that disparity lies in the defensive metrics on which the two sites rely in calculating WAR. Reyes posted an atrocious -26 DRS, Baseball-Reference’s metric of choice. He was also a below-average defender at all three infield positions he played, posting DRS totals of -5, -5, and -15 at second, third, and short, respectively.

On the other hand, by UZR, Fangraphs’s preferred stat, Reyes was only slightly worse than a league-average defender. Reyes posted UZR totals of 0.4, -2.9, and -1.0 at the three respective infield positions, for an overall -2.9 UZR when accounting for his limited time in the outfield.

If you assume that his actual performance was probably somewhere near the midpoint of -0.6 and 2.0 WAR, Reyes was better than a replacement-level player. The infielder gave the Mets defensive versatility and an almost league-average bat, which is useful production at the right price. Fortunately, the Mets only paid Reyes the league minimum last year, which is certainly a good price for that level of production.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the Mets try to bring Reyes back in 2018. The infielder seems happy to be back in New York and could be willing to cut the Mets a hometown discount. If he is, Reyes’s strong second half seems to have put the possibility of a return—ideally, in more of a utility than an everyday role—back on the table.