Jose Reyes Hitting Third?

JerseySenior Analyst IMarch 1, 2009

Jose Reyes has never hit more than 19 home runs in a season. So why on earth would anyone ever consider batting him third in a lineup?

The three-hole doesn't need to be filled with your best slugger, obviously, but Reyes is a singles guy. His primary contribution occurs once he gets on base, not at the plate.

Yet Jerry Manuel wants to bat him third. He could put Carlos Beltran there. It's not like Manuel's out of options. But no, he wants Reyes to bat third for some reason.

Manuel is on the right track by wanting to move him out of the leadoff spot. Reyes' career OBP is a mere .336, not something you want out of your table setter. He's a speed demon when he does get on, and that helps his cause, but his mediocre OBP means he's far from an ideal leadoff hitter.

But third? Really? You usually put a solid all-around hitter there. The Yankees had Bobby Abreu in that spot last year, and will have Mark Teixeira there this season. Neither one is a Jose Reyes type.

These are guys who can hit for power, and plenty of it. These are guys who have batted over .300 more than twice in their careers. They're not speedy little runts; they're pure hitters. Reyes doesn't fit the mold.

The fact is, Reyes isn't that great of a hitter, and it's something Mets fans have trouble hearing. Look at the man's statistics. His asset is his speed. He won't be able to utilize his speed as much from the third spot, so he'd be wasted in that role.

Reyes should bat second. His OBP won't damage the team as much, and he'll still be able to make the most of his legs. He'll be one step closer to the heart of the order, so he can be knocked in at a greater rate, and his steals will be more effective.

The fact is, he's neither a leadoff kind of player, nor a No. 3 hitter. Putting him in between is the best way to go.