Jose Reyes was once a fantasy dynamo for the Mets in his prime. Now at the tail end of his career, does he have any fantasy value in 2017?
The Mets have the talent to make another deep October run and expectations are once again high in for the Amazins. Like any other team in the league, health will be the biggest factor for the Mets’ chances in 2017. The team was bitten by the injury bug in both the rotation and the lineup last season, prompting them to reunite with Jose Reyes. Reyes’ performance was solid in his small sample size with the club in 2016, but does he hold any fantasy value in this season?
Fantasy owners need to first eliminate the immediate urge to think of the fantasy monster that Reyes was in his prime. He will be 34-years-old next season and entering his fifteenth MLB season, so it is safe to safe that the glory days are over. The game breaking talent may have dwindled, but he was still able to post a .267/8 HR/24 RBI/9 SB/.769 OPS line over 60 games last season.
Reyes was limited to only 60 games last season because of a domestic violence incident prior to the start of last season, resulting in a 52 game suspension. He was inked to a minor league deal by the Mets in late June and would be promoted in just a matter of days.
On paper, the Mets are set around the diamond. David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker are penciled in to start, but each player battled injuries last season. The clearest path to playing time for Reyes is at third base over Wright. No one will question Wright’s career nor what he has done, but the severity of the back and neck injuries he faces are just too much to think he will last the season.
Cabrera, Walker, and Duda all battled injuries in 2016, so it is easy to see how Reyes fills the super utility role and gets steady at-bats. There there is also Reyes trying to learn center field this season, further opening the possibilities. It is not as though that Reyes himself as not fought the injury bug throughout his career, but in a super-utility role, he can shine.
He only had 279 at-bats last season but did post 22% LD, 35% GB, 43% FB, 41% Med and 29% Hard batted ball ratios. While the FB rate would have been a career-high rate, he did make solid contact notching 25 XBH in his limited sample size. Owners will not be selecting him for his power, but 10 HR is definitely in play as long as he can continue to square the ball up consistently.
The crux of Reyes’ fantasy value will once again be his speed and counting stats. Looking at the Mets’ roster construction, Reyes is still the best in-house option to leadoff, and Terry Collins has said as much. He stole nine bases last season while only getting caught twice, and he has played only 176 games the last two seasons so his legs should be fresh. With speed at a premium in MLB and fantasy, there is no reason to believe that Reyes can not notch 20+ SB in 2017.
At the top of the lineup, his counting stats will be there with Yoenis Cespedes, Walker, and Jay Bruce behind him in the order.
Reyes was a fantasy dynamo with the Mets during his first run with the club. While the former first-round value is gone, there is still enough left in the tank for him to be a late-round selection. He can be had for nearly nothing, yet could very well offer a .265/10 HR/45 RBI/20 SB/70 R line. Do not be afraid to take a flier on him this spring.