Mets Top 10 Prospects
By Bill Ballew
Age: 19. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 1999. Signed by: Eddy Toledo.
Background: After finishing fifth in the low Class A South Atlantic League batting race in 2001, when he was the youngest regular in any full-season league, Reyes was even better in 2002. He stood out in big league camp before reporting to the high Class A Florida State League, where he earned a quick promotion to the Double-A Eastern League. Managers in both leagues rated him the top defensive shortstop, strongest infield arm and most exciting player. He also was MVP at the Futures Game after stroking a bases-loaded triple, appropriate, as Reyes led all minor leaguers with 19 triples while ranking fifth in runs and sixth in steals. He has emerged as the best shortstop prospect in the game.
Strengths: Reyes surprises people with his solid physique. His dedication to improving his strength, along with natural maturation, have transformed him from a skinny kid into an impressive specimen. He drives the ball more consistently to all fields. Reyes plate discipline improved in high Class A before slipping after he reported to Double-A. Hes an excellent baserunner with plus speed. He has demonstrated Gold Glove ability throughout his career, with a strong arm and tremendous range.
Weaknesses: Reyes needs to make improvements that should come with experience. Hell need more consistent strike-zone discipline to succeed against better pitching and to become the true leadoff hitter the Mets need. Reyes also is prone to making youthful mistakes in the field, though part of that stems from his exuberance. While hes a prolific basestealer, he can become more effective after getting caught 24 times last year.
The Future: Reyes is the Mets best everyday prospect since Darryl Strawberry blazed through the system in the early 1980s. Though the organization shuns comparisons to other players, Reyes all-around ability and athleticism remind scouts of Alfonso Soriano. The Mets unloaded Rey Ordonez to the Devil Rays in December, clearing the way for Reyes in the long term. The club did sign Rey Sanchez as a stopgap to give Reyes some time in Triple-A to make final preparations for New York, if he needs it.
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