Could Jose Reyes Hit Third for Mets in 2010?

Mets ParadiseCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets takes batting practice prior to the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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There have been reports that Jerry Manuel is thinking about batting shortstop Jose Reyes in the No. 3 spot in the lineup.  Manuel has yet to commit to anything definite, but what would the Mets lineup look like if Reyes did hit third?  Let’s take a trip in the “Mets Paradise What If” machine and take a look:

It’s Opening Day 2010 for the New York Mets and they’re playing with a lot to prove. After an embarrassing 2009 season, everyone on the team is prepared to bring some glory back to Flushing, N.Y.

With Carlos Beltran starting the season on the disabled list, and with the addition of free agents Jason Bay and Rod Barajas, the Mets' lineup looks a little different than it did in 2009.  But the most noticeable change for the Mets is where Jose Reyes will be hitting today: third in the lineup.

Since Reyes came up in 2003, you could write his name in at the top of your scorecard with confidence, even without knowing what the lineup would be.  Now, in 2010, Reyes will be hitting in the third hole, a spot where he has never hit in his career.

When asked about this back in Spring Training, Reyes said, “Whatever spot he puts me in the lineup, I’m going to be able to do it.  Whatever is best for the team, I’m going to do it.  So let’s see what happens.  He said when Beltran comes back, I’m going to be the leadoff guy again.”

Carlos Beltran is due back in the Mets' lineup in the beginning of May.  So at least for now, Reyes will be hitting third.

Before the game today, Manuel was asked what the reason was for batting Reyes third. “We have three players in this lineup who could be leadoff hitters,” Manuel said. “We believe Reyes is one of the best batters in this lineup.  He can bunt the ball, slap at it or drive it over your head.  We see him as over a .300 hitter who will be able to drive in some runs for us.”

Manuel went with this lineup for Opening Day:

  1. Angel Pagan – CF
  2. Luis Castillo – 2B
  3. Jose Reyes – SS
  4. Jason Bay – LF
  5. David Wright – 3B
  6. Daniel Murphy – 1B
  7. Jeff Francoeur – RF
  8. Rod Barajas – C
  9. Johan Santana – P

When reporters asked David Wright what he thought about the lineup, he said, “It’s a very deep lineup. We have three switch-hitters at the top who can all get on and steal bases.  After that we have five guys in a row who can all hit 20 or more home runs. There is going to be a lot of energy at the top of your order. And the nice thing about it is I don’t have to just hit a home run to score them. They get on base, steal a base, and all I have to do is sacrifice, or just get a single, and they’ll score.”

Wright is looking to rebound after a tough 2009, in which he only hit 10 home runs and suffered a concussion.  He’s come into this season bigger and stronger than the last, impressing many people with his performance in Spring Training.

We talked to a fan before the game who said, “I like the way the lineup looks, but I don’t think Reyes is a three-hitter; he just doesn’t have the power for it. Plus I don’t like the idea of having Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas back-to-back. They are good hitters but have very low on-base percentages.”

Before the game, Reyes said, “I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win. If that means batting me third, then I’ll bat third. If I have to bat first, sixth, or ninth to help the team, I’ll do it. I’m just looking forward to playing this year—I think everyone is. We want to prove we’re the best team in the National League, and I believe we are.”