Rollins vs. Reyes

Not too long ago one of my colleagues over at the Most Valuable Network posted an article comparing Jimmy Rollins to Jose Reyes and who he would rather have on his team. Being a Phillies fan he obviously chose Rollins, but he did bring up some excellent points about Rollins’ stats and leadership skills and why he thinks Rollins is the better player.

My initial response was, well yeah, we have heard Rollins’ name thrown around a lot more in 2007 than Reyes’ so he must be having a better year. Sure in some categories he has, but after a closer look, we can see how they are closer than you may realize:

Rollins .293 134 204 48 37 .342 .529
Reyes .287 118 189 76 78 .361 .432

And now a look at their extended stats:

Rollins 761 696 .236 7.0% 11.0% .299 20%
Reyes 754 658 .145 11.8% 9.8% .309 17%

While Rollins has placed himself in the top four men up for the MVP award this season due to his impressive statistics and commanding leadership, Reyes hasn’t exactly been a slouch. Reyes has the edge on categories that are crucial to lead off hitters and, in his own way, has been just as crucial to his team’s success as Rollins. So what role does Reyes’ leadership skills play into this?

Considering Reyes is only in his third full season, I’d say he still has time to develop into a leader. And so what if he doesn’t? The Mets have plenty of on-the-field leaders like David Wright (an MVP candidate himself) and Carlos Beltran. Does that mean if Reyes doesn’t become a dominant presence in the locker room but still continues to put up impressive numbers that he is any less of a player? I don’t think it does. So the question still remains on who you would rather have as part of your franchise?

While Rollins has been a clutch hitter for the Phillies this year, I think I am going to have to go with Jose Reyes for the long run. This kid’s on base trend is going up year after year while Rollins pretty much stays at a constant. This is incredibly important for a lead off hitter. So despite Rollins’ edge in power (even though I think Reyes will have the potential to be a 20 homer guy as he continues to grow), I think Reyes will overall be the better player when it’s all said and done.

This is a very tough comparison to make so it really comes down to what you think a lead off hitter should be. Just stop and think for a moment all the players in the Majors who are capable of hitting 30+ home runs. Now try and think of all the legitimate lead off hitters there are in the game. It’s not easy as there aren’t many true number one guys.

For me a guy who gets on base a lot and is a constant threat to steal is more valuable than someone who is more of a threat to go deep. Not that Rollins’ power is a bad thing, but when I think of a top of the order guy I always think back to the movie “Major League” and Willie Mays Hayes.

We don’t pay you to hit the ball out of the ball park, we pay you to hit the ball on the ground.

I vote Reyes.

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