Mar 9, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes (7) signals to his teammates after reaching base on an error by Washington Nationals center fielder Rick Ankiel (not pictured) at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: Shortstop

Sorry about the lack of posting over the past couple of days. Been busy with a couple of things at work and school. I will have a few posts up today. Look for some spring training updates later today.

For now, we will continue on with the Miami Marlins season preview. Today we look at new short stop for the Miami Marlins, Jose Reyes.

Mar 10, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes (7) throws out a St. Louis Cardinals base runner at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The Marlins in the past have had discussions about moving Hanley Ramirez off of short stop. They could not do this without alienating their super star without a good reason to do so. Their good reason became Reyes. From the start of free agency, Reyes was the team’s number one priority in the off season, as the club contacted the player’s representatives one minute after the free agency period officially began. Although the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets had interest, it had become a foregone conclusion that Reyes was taking his talents to South Beach.

Depth Chart

1. Jose Reyes
2. Donnie Murphy
3. Emilio Bonifacio

The Marlins signed Jose Reyes to be the short stop for the 2012 season and beyond. However, when the reports were flying out that Ramirez was unhappy with the move to third, it is reported that Reyes called Ramirez and offered to play third to accommodate Ramirez. I am not too sure of this rumor, but that is what the New York Mets commentators mentioned on their broadcast against the Marlins on Saturday.

Mar 13, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (2) makes a play against the Atlanta Braves at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Luckily for the Marlins, Ramirez seems content with the move. The Marlins will have a premium short stop and third baseman for the next few seasons. Before we move onto the statistical analysis of Reyes’ past few seasons and his projections, I want to mention one of the other benefits of adding Reyes.

Like I mentioned in a post before the Marlins signed Reyes, signing Reyes would make Ramirez happy and keep him motivated. Apparently Reyes is having more of an affect on Ramirez then I had initially thought he would. According to Marlins manager, Ozzie Guillen, Reyes has been a positive influence on Ramirez so far. This is what Ozzie had to say:

Reyes is at another level. I don’t know where he came from. This kid is good. I played with another players. I don’t see anybody who has more enthusiasm, more energy than that kid. Hopefully that rubs on to the other guys to play the game the way he plays the game.

Reyes also had a bit of history in New York of being lazy at times, which Reyes has admitted to as well. For the most part though, Reyes has always been seen as a professional and if he can rub off on Ramirez, that only means great things if you are a Marlins fan!

The Marlins signed Reyes to a mega free agent deal after Reyes’ posted his career season in 2011. Here is a look at his 2011 numbers

Season PA AVG OBP SLG% wOBA WAR
2011 586 .337 .384 .493 .386 6.2

While it would be wonderful for Marlins fans to see these types of numbers for Reyes again, it is highly unlikely. Reyes posted a BABIP much higher then his career average. That should regress going forward, which will bring his stats back down.

Reyes, 2009-2011 K% BB% XB/H ISO BABIP
2011 7.0 7.3 0.464 .156 .353
2010 10.4 5.1 0.516 .145 .301
2009 10.8 11.4 0.414 .116 .307
Three-Year 9.1 6.8 0.480 .146 .325

For Reyes 2009 and 2010 were major struggles for the short stop. Reyes battled injuries in both seasons. As well as a major drop in his BABIP in those two seasons. Then Reyes posted a career season in BABIP, which highly inlfated his batting average. Reyes also showed better plate discipline, but seeing that that his K% and BB% were both career bests, it will be interesting to see if he can sustain that in 2012 and beyond with the Marlins.

Here is an interesting point brought on by Michael Jong on Fishstripes:

The 2009 and 2010 seasons were clear blemishes, what with the injury history and the fact that Reyes underperformed in his 2010 season. However, consider the following information:

– From 2009 to 2011, only two shortstops (Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez) with over 1000 PA had a better wOBA and wRC+, which is park- and league-adjusted measure of wOBA, than Reyes’s 124.

– From 2009 to 2011, only six shortstops (the above mentioned plus Derek Jeter, Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, and Elvis Andrus) had a better fWAR total than Reyes.

From mashing his best and worst seasons together, you got a player who was the best fifth best shortstop in baseball and the third best hitting shortstop in the game. Jose Reyes was good even when he was bad, and the overall .306/.352/.452 package is perfectly acceptable for a capable defender at shortstop. Even though he has missed significant time with injury, he managed to average 3.3 wins per season.

March 12, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) throws the ball to first for an out in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Even though Reyes has struggled mightily with injuries in 2009 and 2010, he is still one of the best short stops in the game right now. I would rank him second behind Tulowitzski as of now. The Marlins have added a super star short stop that should have another few big seasons left in him, which will help the Marlins justify giving him the massive contract.

As for Reyes’ defense, we will take a peek at what Michael had to say again,

We mentioned defensively that Reyes has average two to three runs worse than average on defense, and I am fairly comfortable going with that value for 2012 as well. Of course, being a shortstop has inherent value, as there are a select few players capable of playing the position in the major leagues. As a result, we add an adjustment for Reyes’s position to give him credit for being a shortstop; the position adjustment for shortstops in most WAR metrics is around an added seven to eight runs per 600 PA. Therefore, the “defensive value” of a shortstop like Reyes adds up to around four to five runs above average in 600 PA.

Moving Hanley to third and adding Reyes not only improves the Marlins defense at third, but it also adds value to the Marlins defense a short stop. While Hanley was an elite short stop, it had nothing to do with his defense. In face, it can be argued that Hanley’s defense actually brought down his value a tad during his time at short. Many experts tabbed Tulowitzski as a better short stop when Hanley was playing at an elite level because of his defense.

Here is a look at Jose Reyes’ 2012 projections:

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR HR
Bill James 594 .303 .358 .447 .353 3.8 10
Roto Champ 599 .306 .357 .461 .359 3.7 9
Fans 624 .299 .348 .442 .350 4.4 9

Not suprisingly, the projections have Reyes’ numbers normalizing in 2012. The good news for the Marlins, even with these number, Reyes’ remains an elite level short stop and proves to be worth the contract the Marlins signed him to.

Here is a look at my projections for Reyes in 2012:

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG% wOBA WAR
621 .310 .356 .453 .360 4.8

Once again, my projections fall right into line with the projections of the systems. I am of course once again a bit more optimistic then these systems. I do have a bit more of bias then they do. The important thing for Marlins fans should be to see Reyes on the field to take as many AB’s as these projections have him having. If he can the numbers will follow. If Reyes can have between 594 and 624 at bats, chances are that he puts up another monster season, probably just not at the same level as he had in 2012!

 

Please join us tomorrow when we continue the Miami Marlins season preview, this time we will take a look a left field.

Tags: Alexi Ramirez Donnie Murphy Elvis Andrus Emilio Bonifacio Jose Reyes Miami Marlins Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets Troy Tulowitzki Yunel Escobar

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