MLB Fantasy Baseball Risky Business: What's Up with Jose Reyes?

Jordan GillisContributor IMarch 12, 2010

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Infielder Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 27, 2010 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Last March, most fantasy baseball owners saw Mets’s shortstop Jose Reyes , go in the first two rounds of their draft. His top flight speed, matched with above average hitting skills, mixed in with a position that lacks fantasy studs, there’s no question everyone who drafted him expected huge returns.

However, Reyes who had played 150+ games a season for the previous four years, managed only to squeak out 36 games played in 2009. He was still pretty good in those 36 games, but six weeks of playing doesn’t really pay off for a blue chip draft pick.

Coming into spring training this season, Jose appeared to be healthy, until doctors found out he had a thyroid issue. They prescribed rest to help the elevated levels return to normal.

The health issue is being described as not serious, but Jose’s weak hamstrings and now varying hormone levels are likely to scare away potential suitors come draft time. Their worry could be your potential gain.

What can we realistically expect from Reyes this season? According to  three of their four projection systems peg him to have a full season of over 150 games played. Only the Marcel projections have Reyes for half a season. These projections all came out before the thyroid condition came into play, which if it fixes itself, should not be much of an issue.

All four projection systems project Reyes to be a .351-.366 wOBA player which sticks him in between Tulowitski and Jeter being the third best hitting short stop when he’s playing. When he’s playing he does everything right, he gets on base, he hits with enough power to not hurt your team, and steals bases. This makes in an incredibly medium-high risk, very high reward player in any draft.

As long as Reyes on the field he is a fantasy game changer, the risk for Jose Reyes lies completely with how many games he plays in 2010. Because he is so good, he’s still valuable if he only gets in half a season as his production will likely out weigh a mid-level short stop, and generally those points, stats, or whatever counter your league(s) use still count.

The shortstop position is thin for elite talent, so getting a great player pays great dividends, while having a bust here, and having to replace a Hanley, Tulo, or Jose, doesn’t put you to far behind most of the teams. The risk is there, but it is far from crippling.

I would be comfortable taking Jose Reyes before or after Jeter is off the table, likely in the second or third round, if it's round four and you haven’t filled the shortstop position, calling out Jose Reyes’ name should be extremely exciting.

Nabbing a backup shortstop would not be a high priority either, as the mid level short stops are not likely to be much better than the waiver wire pick-ups likely to be available, depending how deep your league goes.

Jordan Gillis is a writer from South Dakota wishing he was located in or around Seattle. You can keep up with Jordan's passions at his baseball blog Fantasy By The Book and follow him on twitter @FantasyBtB.