Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 12, 2003
BASEBALL: Mets Shortstops

With Jose Reyes out for the season, finishing at a more than respectable (for a 20-year-old shortstop) .307/.434/.334 with 13 steals in 16 attempts and 47 runs scored in 69 games, a pace for 30 steals and 110 runs. Reyes was totally overmatched early on, batting just .209 through July 11, but once he caught on, he hit an impressive .355/.486/.395 the rest of the way.

Reyes' propensity for hamstring injuries, combined with his season-ending ankle injury, are causes for concern. Still, given the history of Mets shortstops, you'd have to believe that he won't have to keep this up for very long at all to be the best the Mets have had at a position that has long been a sore spot for the franchise.

Well, to look at that question objectively, I took a look through Bill James' Win Shares book, as well as at online calculations for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Through September 7, Reyes ranked fourth on the Mets with 12 Win Shares, which projects out to 28 if he could keep this up for a full season's worth of games. How does that stack up against Mets shortstops of the past? I looked at the shorstop with the most Win Shares for the Mets for each season of their history:

1962Elio Chacon51983Bob Bailor6
1963Al Moran31984Rafael Santana5
1964Roy McMillan31985Rafael Santana11
1965Roy McMillan81986Rafael Santana8
1966Eddie Bressoud111987Rafael Santana11
1967Bud Harrelson131988Kevin Elster12
1968Bud Harrelson61989Kevin Elster18
1969Bud Harrelson141990Kevin Elster10
1970Bud Harrelson171991Kevin Elster10
1971Bud Harrelson191992Dick Schofield13
1972Bud Harrelson131993Tim Bogar6
1973Bud Harrelson131994Jose Vizcaino7
1974Bud Harrelson141995Jose Vizcaino16
1975Mike Phillips81996Rey Ordonez7
1976Bud Harrelson131997Rey Ordonez6
1977Bud Harrelson41998Rey Ordonez9
1978Tim Foli71999Rey Ordonez13
1979Frank Tavares122000Melvin Mora6
1980Frank Tavares102001Rey Ordonez12
1981Frank Tavares32002Rey Ordonez9
1982Bob Bailor62003Jose Reyes12

Bear in mind, here, that a Win Share is a third of a win, so an everyday player who's worth 10 Win Shares (just over 3 wins) isn't contributing all that much. Some observations:

*Average Win Shares, Mets starting shortstops: 9.83

*Total Win Shares, Mets starting shortstops over 42 seasons: 413. Total Win Shares, Robin Yount: 423.

*The Mets have twice won the National League pennant (1986, 2000) without a shortstop who contributed 3 wins to their bottom line.

*The single-season high is 19 by Bud Harrelson in 1971; Harrelson was a good player in his prime, with a good glove and decent plate discipline in a run-starved environment; you could fairly argue that he's the only good shortstop the Mets have ever had, and certainly over any sustained period of time. Reyes has a ways to go to match Harrelson's whole Mets career. But one more full season anything like this year, though, could well make him the best single-season shortstop in club history in short order.

*Vizcaino, in 1995, is the only shorstop to lead the Mets in Win Shares. Of course, when Jose Vizcaino is your best player, you aren't going anywhere.

*We won't mention Alex Rodriguez here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:49 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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