Jose Reyes was on pace to have one of the most impressive seasons by a shortstop ever. On July 2, he was batting .354 with 15 triples, 3 home runs, 32 RBI’s and 30 stolen bases. He was running a way with the NL MVP award and at the same time setting himself up for a huge free agent payday next winter. However, on July 2, Reyes pulled his hamstring and sat out until July 19. Since that time, his average has declined to .336. He’s hit only 1 triple, 2 HRs, driven in only 5 runners and stolen only 4 bases. Even still, his numbers are extremely impressive, it’s certainly not his production I take issue with. For a time in June, Reyes was the toughest out in baseball. In fact, on June 26 and 28, Reyes had back to back 4 hit games. The problem with Jose Reyes, the one thing that could prevent him from really cashing in the winter (rest assured, Latrell Sprewell, he’ll still make enough to feed his family), and the thing that has prevented him from entering the discussion about the elite players in baseball, is his injury history.

Reyes’ style of baseball is violent, stealing bases, slapping a ball in the gap and diving into third, diving for grounders, and his body hasn’t always held up to the pressure. This is a quick overview of Reyes’ injury history courtesy of Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News:

2003: Placed on the 15-day DL on Sept. 5 with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain that ends his season.
2004: Placed on the 15-day DL on March 15 with a strained right hamstring, which keeps him sidelined until June 19.
2009: Playing with a right calf strain, Reyes leaves game on May 21 after aggravating injury. Placed on the 15-day DL, does not return that season. Leaves a minor-league rehab assignment game on June 3 with what is called “discomfort in his right calf.”
- The next day, the Mets announce that Reyes has a tear in his right hamstring tendon.
- The Mets announce on Oct. 5 that Reyes will have offseason surgery to clean up scar tissue around the hamstring tendon.
2010: Placed on 15-day DL with hyperactive thyroid, reinstated April 10. On June 30, suffers a injury to right side in batting practice, misses six games.
On July 10, he re-aggravates injury, does not return until July 20. Removed from a game on Aug. 26 after aggravating oblique injury. Does not return until Sept. 10.
This year: Leaves game July 2 with tightness in left hamstring. Misses 12 games.

On August 8, Placed on the 15 game DL with a strained left-hamstring.

So that’s it with Reyes, an electric player on the field who can almost never stay on the field. Reyes claims that this can happen to anyone, pulling a hamstring while running down the line, and that’s true. It just always seems to happen to Jose. His extensive injury history will almost certainly impact his free agent standing, and there’s really nothing he can do about it.

Reyes is a quality player, well above average, and a superstar at his position. The difference between him and Albert Pujols can be summed up very well if you look at recent injuries both suffered. Pujols came back way earlier than expected from a broken forearm and Reyes is headed back to the DL for his leg. I guess you could chalk Reyes’ injury problems up to dumb luck, I’m just not so sure I would.

Here’s a great NY Times article about this very subject.

-Max Frankel


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