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José Reyes

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José Bernabé Reyes (born June 11, 1983) is a Dominican baseball player, who plays shortstop for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball. He led the major leagues in triples in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and led the National League in stolen bases in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He is also the Mets all-time leader in both triples and stolen bases.

BiographyEdit

José Reyes was born June 11, 1983 in Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic. He grew up in the village of Palmar Arriba, on the outskirts of Santiago.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Minor leaguesEdit

Reyes was spotted by New York Mets scouts Eddy Toledo and Juan Mercado during a tryout camp in Santiago in the summer of 1999. After initial concerns over Reyes' slight frame, the Mets offered him a contract, which he signed on August 16, 1999. Despite traditionally sending youngsters to play in their Dominican academy, the Mets made an exception with Reyes and sent him to the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League for the 2000 season.[1] He finished the season with a .250 batting average from 49 games.

For the 2001 season, Reyes was assigned to the Class-A Columbia Bombers. He excelled both in the field and at the plate, hitting .307 with 42 extra-base hits and winning the Player of the Year award.

After spending some time in the big-league spring training camp, Reyes began the 2002 season with the St. Lucie Mets in the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. In the first 3 months of the season, he demonstrated that he could handle the step up, and was promoted to Double-A Binghamton. In his first game, Reyes had 5 hits and 4 RBIs, and completed the season with a .287 average, 27 steals and 26 extra-base hits from 65 games.

On December 15 2002, the Mets traded first-choice shortstop Rey Ordóñez to Tampa Bay, apparently clearing the way for Reyes to become the everyday shortstop for the coming season. However, two weeks later the Mets signed veteran Rey Sánchez to a one-year deal, with the plan being to allow Reyes to mature in the minors while Sanchez kept the big-league spot warm for him. Reyes spent the first two months of the 2003 season at the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, where he batted .269 and stole 26 bases in just 42 games.

Injuries to Mike Piazza and Mo Vaughn had contributed to the Mets' poor performance in the National League East, and eventually convinced manager Art Howe to begin blooding some of the team's younger talent.[1] When Rey Sánchez strained his thumb on June 5 2003, Reyes received his call-up to the majors, just days before his 20th birthday.

2003–2005Edit

Reyes made his major league debut on June 10 2003 against the Texas Rangers, the day before his 20th birthday, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs in a 9-7 loss. After the game, Reyes collected the ball and sent it to his parents. Over the following weeks Reyes' impressive form continued, including a grand slam off Jarrod Washburn in an 8-0 victory over the Angels. When Rey Sánchez completed his month-long spell on the DL, Reyes' strong form ensured that Sánchez had to be content with a place on the bench.

Reyes' season was cut short a month early by a sprained ankle, but he still managed to compile impressive rookie numbers. In 69 games, he batted .307 with 32 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Reyes finished 8th in voting for the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year.

Prior to the 2004 season, the Mets signed Japanese star Kazuo Matsui, whose only condition upon signing was that he got a chance to play his regular position, shortstop. As a result, Reyes was asked to learn second base duties. The huge expectations on Reyes for the 2004 season were tempered early on, when he suffered a strained hamstring and remained on the DL until June 19.

When he returned, the Mets were involved in a close race in the National League East with the Marlins, Phillies, and Braves. However, a back problem for Reyes and injuries to other key Mets led to a collapse and instead of being involved in a pennant race, the team found themselves fighting to stay out of last place in the division. By the end of the season Reyes had returned to his preferred position at shortstop, with Matsui moving back to second base. Reyes ended a disappointing season with a batting average of .255, with 14 RBIs and 19 stolen bases from 53 games.

At the age of 21, Reyes was handed the leadoff spot in the Mets' line-up in his first full season in the major leagues. Despite struggling slightly with his plate discipline - he had only 27 walks in a league-high 733 plate appearances - he finished the season with solid numbers. In 161 games he had 48 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs and 60 stolen bases. Reyes led the National League in stolen bases and led the majors in triples. However, he also led all National League shortstops in errors with 18.

2006–2007Edit

During spring training in 2006, the Mets brought in former player Rickey Henderson as a specialist instructor. One of the reasons Henderson was hired was to help tutor Reyes in the arts of getting on base and stealing bases - skills at which Henderson excelled throughout his own career.

Reyes won Player of the Week honors in the National League for the weeks beginning June 12 and June 19, becoming the first Mets player to be named the NL Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks since Jesse Orosco in 1983.[2] During this two-week period Reyes had 30 hits in 57 at-bats (a .526 batting average) and raised his season batting average from .246 to .302. On June 21 2006 in a 6-5 loss against the Cincinnati Reds Reyes hit for the cycle, becoming the ninth Met in team history to do so.[3]

Reyes' outgoing personality began to make him a fan favorite in New York. He became well known for the elaborate handshakes he creates with his teammates to celebrate runs scored.[4] In his spots as 'Professor Reyes', Reyes taught the Shea faithful the Spanish language between innings on the stadium's Diamond Vision screen, helping to make him one of the Mets' most popular players.

On August 3, 2006, Reyes signed a four-year, $23.25 million contract extension with the Mets, thereby avoiding salary arbitration. The contract includes an $11 million option for 2011 with a buy-out of $500,000 if the Mets do not pick up the option. Reyes also received a $1.5 million signing bonus.

On August 15, 2006, Reyes hit three home runs in an 11-4 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Two days later, he became the second player in Mets history to record at least 50 stolen bases in consecutive seasons. On September 7 2006, Reyes hit the first inside-the-park home run of his career, against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Reyes was timed at 14.81 seconds for his dash around the bases - the equivalent of running a circular 100-meter dash in about 13.5 seconds.[5]

As the 2006 season wound down, Reyes was in pursuit of an unusual feat - reaching 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. Reyes finished the 2006 regular season with an average of .300, 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 122 Runs and 64 stolen bases from 153 games. He increased his on-base percentage by 54 points, and his slugging percentage was almost 100 points higher than in 2005. Reyes' walk rate nearly doubled - in 30 fewer plate appearances, he went from 27 walks to 53. He also showed similar improvement in the field - in 2006 he had a range factor of 3.86, the lowest of all major league shortstops. Reyes picked up a Silver Slugger Award, was called up to his first All-Star Game, and finished 7th in NL MVP voting.

The Mets clinched their spot in the playoffs, and Reyes experienced the postseason for the first time in his career. He made his playoff debut on October 4 2006 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 National League Division Series. Though he hit just .167 for the series, he came up big in key situations, scoring the winning run in Game 1, driving in the go-ahead run in Game 2, and knocking in the game-tying run in the 6th inning of Game 3. In Game 6 of the 2006 National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and facing elimination, Reyes hit a leadoff home run in the first inning to jump start his team and help force a deciding Game 7, which the Mets went on to lose 3-1.

In November 2006 Reyes participated in the Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series along with teammates John Maine and David Wright. He hit a 2-run walk-off home run in the 10th inning of Game 5, giving the MLB team their first sweep of their NPB rivals.

On July 12 2007, Reyes hit the ninth leadoff home run of his career against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, setting a new record for the franchise.[6]

In August Reyes stole his 50th base of the year, becoming the first New York baseball player to steal 50 or more bases in three consecutive seasons. On August 22 2007, Reyes stole his 65th, 66th, and 67th bases and broke Roger Cedeño's Mets record for the most stolen bases in a single season. August also saw Reyes tie the Mets record for stealing at least one base in four straight games.

In the last month of the season, Reyes' struggles were seen to be a key component of the Mets historic late-season collapse. He batted .205 and had an on-base percentage of only .279. His struggles brought much criticism from Mets fans. Reyes finished the season with a .280 batting average, 60 extra-base hits, 12 home runs, 57 RBIs and 78 stolen bases from 160 games.

2008–2009Edit

In spring training and the early part of the 2008 season, Reyes vocalized a plan to focus a little more on baseball, and a little less on the theatrics - such as his dugout dances after home runs - that drew criticism during the late part of 2007 when the Mets were struggling. One of the casualties of this change of focus was the Professor Reyes segment played between innings at Shea where he taught the fans Spanish words and phrases. This was replaced by 'Maine Street USA' with John Maine, and 'Do The Wright Thing' with David Wright, which failed to match the popularity of Reyes' spots. However, with some prodding by his teammates, Reyes was encouraged to continue playing with the same energy as he had previously.[7]

On July 3, Reyes' childhood friend Argenis Reyes was called up from the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs. When Argenis played, he and José made up the middle infield for the Mets, with Argenis Reyes at second base. On July 20, Reyes overtook Mookie Wilson as the Mets all-time triples leader after legging out his 63rd career triple in the fourth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

On September 10, Reyes broke the Mets all-time record for stolen bases, previously held by Mookie Wilson, with his 282nd career stolen base coming in the third inning of a game against the Washington Nationals. After stealing second to break the record, he then stole third and scored the go-ahead run on a single by David Wright. On September 23 2008, Reyes achieved his first 200-hit season with a bases-clearing triple. He is the second Met to reach this landmark, after Lance Johnson in 1996. Reyes finished the season with a batting average of .297, with 72 extra-base hits (including a majors-leading 19 triples), 68 RBIs and 56 stolen bases.

A few days before spring training, Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced that he was considering moving Reyes from the leadoff spot to 2nd or 3rd in the line-up. However, Reyes playing in the World Baseball Classic meant his playing time in the Mets training camp was limited, and led to Manuel deciding to move Reyes back to the leadoff spot. Speaking of the decision, Reyes said "That's where I've hit all my life... I'd like to be a leadoff hitter."[8]

Reyes reached 300 steals in the seventh inning in a game against the Pirates on May 10, 2009, swiping third base as part of a double steal with another 300 man, Luis Castillo. Already the Mets' all-time leader in career stolen bases, Reyes could conceivably reach 400 steals by the time his contract with the Mets expires in 2010.

International careerEdit

2006 World Baseball ClassicEdit

Reyes represented the Dominican Republic in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. The team finished top of their group in both the first and second rounds, but fell to Cuba in the semi-finals. Reyes' playing time was limited due to the presence of Miguel Tejada in the shortstop spot. In 6 at-bats, Reyes collected 1 hit and 1 run, as well as 2 stolen bases.

2009 World Baseball ClassicEdit

Reyes was again called up to the Dominican Republic team for the 2009 competition. He had a disappointing tournament as the Dominican Republic were eliminated after only three games, suffering two defeats against the underdog Netherlands team. Reyes finished the tournament with just 1 hit and 2 runs from 9 at-bats.

Personal lifeEdit

Reyes currently lives in Manhasset, New York.[9]

Media appearancesEdit

On December 7 2007 Reyes was announced as the cover athlete for Major League Baseball 2K8 from 2K Sports, taking over from New York Yankees counterpart Derek Jeter. Reyes was also the cover athlete for the Nintendo DS spinoff, Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars, albeit in cartoon form.[10]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • 2-time NL All-Star (2006, 2007)
  • 2-time New York Mets Minor League Player of the Year (2001, 2002)
  • 2001 Low-A All-Star
  • 2002 1st Team Minor League All-Star
  • 2002 Florida State League All-Star
  • 2002 Eastern League All-Star
  • 2002 Futures Game All-Star MVP
  • 2006 NL Silver Slugger Award
  • 2007 NL Player of the Month Award (April)

AchievementsEdit

  • 3-time MLB Triples Leader (2005, 2006, 2008)
  • 3-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (2005, 2006, 2007)
  • 2-time MLB Stolen Bases Leader (2006, 2007)
  • New York Mets All-Time Leader in Triples
  • New York Mets All-Time Leader in Stolen Bases

Career statisticsEdit

YearAgeTeamLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS+TBSHSFIBBHBPGDP
2003 20New YorkNL 6927447841245321331336.307.334.43410211923001
2004 21New YorkNL 532203356162214192531.255.271.373658240001
2005 22New YorkNL 16169699190241775860152778.273.300.3868126944027
2006 23New YorkNL 1536471221943017198164175381.300.354.48711531520616
2007 24New YorkNL 1606811191913612125778217778.280.354.421103287511316
2008 25New YorkNL 159688 113 204 37 19 16 68 56 15 66 82 .297 .358 .475 118 327 5 3 8 1 9
2009 26New YorkNL 331401840722151121817.286.365.407905701102
Totals: 788 3,346 551 959 162 73 63 325 301 75 259 403 .287 .338 .435 101 1,456 22 12 28 5 32
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See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jose Reyes Biography. JockBio. Retrieved on 2009-04-01.
  2. Yanik, Kevin (2006-06-26). Reyes earns weekly honor again. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  3. Noble, Marty (2006-06-21). Reyes' cycle soured by Mets loss. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-21.
  4. Shpigel, Ben (2006-06-11). Young Stars in Alignment. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2006-08-04.
  5. Herrmann, Mark (2006-09-07). Study in Complete Domination. Stamford Advocate. Retrieved on 2006-09-11.
  6. McCarron, Anthony (2007-07-13). Mets Show Pep, but Little Pop. New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-07-13.
  7. Pascarelli, Peter (2008-4-19). "It's time for Reyes to be Reyes", ESPN.com, Accessed April 19, 2008.
  8. Noble, Marty (2009-03-12). Reyes returns to Mets camp. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-04.
  9. Red, Christian (2007-05-06). Move over, Derek Jeter. New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2009-04-05.
  10. GameSpot

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Scott Podsednik
National League Stolen Base Champion
2005-2007
Succeeded by:
Willy Taveras
Preceded by:
Felipe López
National League Silver Slugger (SS)
2006
Succeeded by:
Jimmy Rollins
Preceded by:
Ryan Howard
National League Player of the Month
April 2007
Succeeded by:
Prince Fielder

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