Many of the Mets shortstops in this list could certainly hold their own in the field. But none of them were able to hit as well as Jose Reyes has so far.
Reyes was originally signed by the Mets in 1999 and made his MLB debut in June of 2003. The original plan was to have Rey Sanchez, who replaced Rey Ordonez after 2002, be the Mets shortstop that year and let Reyes develop a little more in the minors. However, Sanchez was a bust and Reyes was brought up just in time.
Reyes went 2-4 in his first MLB game and hit a grand slam for his first career home run. Unfortunately after just 69 games, Reyes' season was cut short due to an ankle sprain. He batted .307 for the year with five home runs and 32 RBI. He also added 13 stolen bases.
In 2004, Reyes was unwisely moved to second base in order to accommodate the arrival of Kaz Matsui. This was not a fun season for Reyes, who looked awkward at second base and missed most of the season with hamstring and fibula injuries. He only appeared in 53 games that year and batted .255 with two home runs, 14 RBI and 19 stolen bases.
In 2005, Reyes was moved back to shortstop, while Matsui, who struggled in 2004 was shifted to second base. During his first full season, Reyes had a breakout year. He batted .273 with seven home runs, 58 RBI, 24 doubles, 13 triples and 60 stolen bases. The triples and stolen bases he had both led the league.
He did not show a lot of patience at the plate as he only drew 27 walks in a Mets' record 733 plate appearances. In fact, Reyes appeared in all but one game that year.
Reyes had his best overall season to date in 2006. He batted .300 with a career-high 19 home runs and 81 RBI out of the leadoff spot. He also added 122 runs scored, 194 hits, 30 doubles, 17 triples, 64 stolen bases and a .354 OBP. He once again led the league in triples and stolen bases. Reyes won his only Silver Slugger award and made his first All-Star team, but missed the game due to an injury. He even had a three-home run game that year, and is the most recent Met to do so.
Reyes had another solid season in 2007. His average, home runs and RBI slipped to .280, 12 and 57, respectively. But he also had 119 runs scored, 191 hits, 36 doubles, 12 triples and a career-high 78 stolen bases, which again led the league and became a new Mets record. He made his second All-Star team that year as well. Unfortunately, Reyes struggled mightily in September and was widely criticized during the Mets' infamous collapse that year.
In 2008, Reyes had yet another great season. He batted .297 with 16 home runs, 68 RBI, 113 runs scored, a career and league-high 204 hits, a career high 37 doubles and 19 triples, and 56 stolen bases. His triples total also led the league. That year, Reyes broke Mookie Wilson's career triples and stolen bases records, which he still holds today.
With the Mets moving to Citi Field in 2009, Reyes' expectations were even higher. However, 2009 was a year to forget for Reyes. In early May, he was placed on the disabled list with a calf injury. He was expected to return after a few weeks, but re-injured himself while rehabbing. He, along with a good number of other Mets, missed the rest of the season. He finished the year with a .279 average, two home runs, 15 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 36 games.
2010 did not get off to a good start for Reyes, in regards to his health. He was told to not participate in spring training due to a hyperactive thyroid gland. He missed the first few weeks while on the disabled list and later missed some time in July due to another leg injury. At one point, he batted exclusively right-handed, which did not end up working well.
However, Reyes later got healthy and showed signs of the player he had been from 2005-2008. He ended the season with a .282 average, 11 home runs, 54 RBI, 29 doubles, 10 triples and 30 stolen bases. He made his third All-Star team but did not play due to an injury.
Reyes' 2011 season began with a lot of talk about his future, being that his option was picked up and he is in the last year of his current contract. There was also talk about his history with injuries. Despite going through a current hamstring injury that will probably sideline him for a couple of weeks, Reyes has had an amazing comeback season so far.
At the All-Star break, he has a league-leading .354 average, three home runs, 32 RBI, 124 hits, 22 doubles, 15 triples, 30 stolen bases, a .398 OBP and a surprisingly good .529 slugging percentage. He was elected to start this year's All-Star Game, but once again, he will not be able to participate due to an injury.
Hopefully Reyes can continue his staggering dominance and set some records, whether it be within the Mets or throughout the league. Thanks to his success, the Mets may also be more open to contract discussions, so hopefully that can work out as well!
Jose Reyes is by far the best all-around shorstop the Mets have ever had, and hopefully, his time here is far from being over.